Do you aspire to use your engineering or science background to serve on the cutting edge of innovation? Now you can, by being the first to examine new inventions to determine and grant patents as a Patent Examiner at America's Innovation Agency!
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Clarification from the agency
Applications will be accepted from all U.S. Citizens or Nationals. The vacancy announcement open period will have multiple cut-off dates when applications will be reviewed for consideration by the Hiring Manager: 1st cutoff: January 21, 2014; 2nd cutoff: March 12, 2024; 3rd cutoff: May 1, 2024; 4th cutoff: June 24, 2024
Patent examiners may choose to perform their duties throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
A patent examiner (PE) reviews applications to determine whether patents can be granted for inventions. Patents give inventors the right to exclude others from making or selling their inventions for a limited time. As a U.S. patent examiner, you will handle these basic patent examining functions:
As a patent examiner, you will spend your time:
- Searching prior art using specialized technology systems to ensure that an invention is new and unique. Prior art is information that has been disclosed to the public about an invention before a given date including related patents, published articles and public demonstrations.
- Reviewing patent applications for potentially new inventions and innovations to ensure they meet the agency's requirements.
- Writing legal office actions on patentability and respond to patent applications.
New patent examiners receive top-notch training during the first months on the job that will give you the tools you need to be successful in your role.
At the GS-7 level, you will perform basic patent examining tasks with extensive instructions from your supervisor. You will receive months of valuable training that will help you do your job well. This training will develop your ability to apply technical concepts to patent examining. Your assignments will pair performance of productive work with supervised on-the-job training.
At the GS-9 level, you will independently perform intermediate patent examining tasks with some supervision. Your assignments will be of average difficulty and require you to apply technical concepts to patent examining. You may perform advanced patent examining with supervision (e.g., evaluation of special claim constructions, requirement of restrictions, recognition and development of probable interferences, etc.). These advanced activities are supported by close review.
Almost all of a patent examiner's work is performed using a computer and requires careful and frequent visual tasks.
This is a Physics position. If this is not your area of expertise, we have openings for patent examiner positions in disciplines such as:
- Electrical Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Biomedical Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Computer Science
Please search USAJOBS for "Patent Examiner" or consult our Careers Website
for further information.
Note: If you are a student who will be graduating soon, you can still apply! Applications will be accepted from students who expect to complete their qualifying education within 9 months from the date of application. The USPTO requires verification of successful completion before your start date.
Conditions of Employment
- Applicants will only be accepted from United States Citizens and Nationals.
- Your resume and question responses must demonstrate the job-related competencies.
- You must meet the definition of specialized experience.
- Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
- Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (www.sss.gov)
- If selected, you may be required to complete a one year probationary period.
- You must meet all qualification requirements upon the closing date of this announcement.
- You must be suitable for Federal Employment
You must meet the United States Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) qualification requirements (including specialized experience and/or educational requirements) for the advertised position. OPM's prescribed Group Coverage Qualification Standard for Patent Examiner Series, GS-1224,can be found at Patent Examining Series 1224 (opm.gov)
Individual Occupational Requirements for Physics can be found at, Physics Series, 1310 (opm.gov)
BASIC QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS:
A. At least a bachelor's degree in physics, or a related degree that included at least 24 semester hours of physics.
B. A combination of education and experience - course work equivalent to a major in physics totaling at least 24 semester hours, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
In either A or B above, the courses must have included a fundamental course in general physics and, in addition, courses in any two of the following: electricity and magnetism, heat, light, mechanics, modern physics, and sound.
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
For documentation requirements, see REQUIRED DOCUMENTS.
ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS:
GS-7: A) Superior Academic Achievement (SAA). This can be defined by one of the following:
1) Class standing-Upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, such as the "School of Engineering and Applied Science" or "College of Science and Technology" based on completed courses.
2) Grade point average (GPA) as recorded on the final transcript-
i) 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B" or better) as recorded on the official transcript, or as computed based on 4 years of education, or as computed based on courses completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum; or
ii) 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B+" or better) based on the average of the required courses completed in the major field or the required courses in the major field completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum. The GPA is rounded to one decimal place. (2.95 = 3.0 and 2.94 = 2.9). The final transcript must cover the period being used to determine the GPA.
3) Honor Society membership--Election to membership in a national scholastic honor society. Click here for a list of qualified honor societies.
B) Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-5 level in the Federal service interpreting and applying basic physics and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts and methodologies used in the evaluation of technology; planning and conducting research; applying appropriate references to the claimed invention, etc.
C) Have at least one year of graduate level education from an accredited college and/or university in the fields of study as described in the Basic Qualification Requirements. If the number of credit hours representing one year of full-time study cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will be considered an academic year of graduate study.
D) Have less than the full amount of graduate education as described in "C" above and less than the amount of experience described in "B" above, but have a combination "B" and "C" above.
GS-9: A) Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-7 level in the Federal service interpreting and applying intermediate physics and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts and methodologies used in the evaluation of technology; planning and conducting research; applying appropriate references to the claimed invention, etc.
B) Have a combination of education and experience. Possess at least a bachelor's degree in Physics AND have experience applying physics principles and theories in the Physics field.
C) Have at least two years of graduate level education leading to a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree from an accredited college and/or university in the fields of study as described in the Basic Qualification Requirements. If the number of credit hours representing one year of full-time study cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will be considered an academic year of graduate study.
D) Have less than the full amount of education described in "C" above and less than the amount of experience described in "A" above, but have a combination of the type of graduate education described in "C" above and experience described in "A" above.
If this position requires proof of higher education, or you are substituting education for experience, you must submit an unofficial transcript or a list of courses that includes the following information: name of accredited institution, grades earned, completion dates, and quarter and semester hours earned. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the requirements. Please refer to http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/policy/ApplicationOfStds-04.asp for more information. You are not required to submit official documents at this time; copies are sufficient.
Special Instructions for Foreign Education: Qualifying education from colleges and universities in foreign countries must be evaluated in terms of equivalency to that acquired in U.S. colleges and universities. Applicants educated in whole or in part in foreign countries must submit sufficient evidence, including transcripts, to an accredited private organization for an equivalency evaluation of course work and degree. A listing of these accredited organizations can be found on the Department of Education's website - US Department of Education. Another listing of services that can perform this evaluation is available at the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) website. You must provide a copy of the letter containing the results of the equivalency evaluation with a course by course listing along with your application. Failure to provide such documentation when requested will result in lost consideration.
NOTE: Only education and experience acquired before the filing deadline will be considered. Report only attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System. If you are exempt from registration under Selective Service Law, you must provide appropriate proof of exemption. Please visit the Selective Service System website for more information.
This is a Bargaining Unit position and represented by Patent Office Professional Association (POPA)
This is a Public Trust position and has a risk level designation of "moderate".
Background Investigation - If selected for this position, you may be required to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306), which includes a fingerprint and credit check, to determine your suitability for Federal employment and to authorize a background investigation.
The USPTO participates in E-Verify. For more information on E-Verify, please visit the Department of Homeland Security Website.
All Federal employees are required to have Federal salary payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of their choice.
Relocation Expenses are not authorized and will not be paid.
CTAP and ICTAP candidates will be eligible for selection priority if it is determined that they have exceeded the minimum qualifications for the position by attaining at least a "well qualified" rating of 85 out of 100. Information about CTAP and ICTAP eligibility is on the Office of Personnel Management's Career Transition Resources website at: OPM CTAP/ICTAP. CTAP/ICTAP documentation requirements are listed in the 'Required Documents' section of this announcement.
More than one selection may be made from this announcement if additional identical vacancies in the same title, series, grade, and unit occur within 90 days from the date the certificate was issued.
All application materials become the property of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
USPTO Job Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should request accommodation(s) from the USPTO at http://www.uspto.gov/accommodation.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors. If you believe that you have been discriminated against and would like to file an EEO complaint, you must do so within 45 days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act. Claims of employment discrimination must be submitted to the attention of the USPTO's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity & Diversity via email (email@example.com) or phone (571-272-8292).
A career with the U.S. government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Opens in a new windowLearn more about federal benefits.
Review our benefits
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
Your resume, optional cover letter and supporting documentation will be reviewed to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for the position. If you meet the minimum qualifications stated in the job opportunity announcement, we will compare your resume, optional cover letter and supporting documentation to your responses on the self-assessment questions (True/False, Yes/ No, Multiple Choice questions) and place you in one of three pre-defined categories. These categories are "gold," "silver," and "bronze." Your resume and/or optional cover letter must support your responses to the scored occupational questionnaire, or your score may be lowered. Candidates placed in the "gold" category will be identified for referral to the hiring manager and may be invited for an interview.
How you will be evaluated for preference eligibility: Preference eligibles with a service-connected disability of 10% or more will be listed at the top of the highest quality category (gold).
Your resume will be evaluated based on evidence of your ability to demonstrate possession of any specialized experience and how well your background and experience relates to the self-assessment questions in the job announcement. Responses to job questions that are not fully supported by the information in your resume may result in adjustments to your rating. Any experience claimed in a cover letter should be substantiated by information contained in your resume. A HR Representative will validate the qualifications of those candidates eligible to be referred to the hiring official.
The scored occupational questionnaire will evaluate you on the following competencies; Please do not provide a separate written response.
- Interpersonal Communication
- Written Communication
For more information on category rating, please go to: DOC Bulletins
To preview the questionnaire please click the link below:
Please note that a complete application is required for consideration. (Please review the "Required Documents" section of this job announcement to see what must be included in a complete application).
A complete application consists of:
1. A resume or any other written format you choose to describe your job-related qualifications; optional cover letter: Your resume should indicate your citizenship and should list your educational and work experience including titles, salary, employment dates, duties, experience and how it relates to the specialized experience in the job announcement.
2. Transcripts: You MUST submit copies of your college transcripts for verification of the education requirements. Unofficial copies are accepted, however, if selected you will be required to furnish official transcripts. It is your responsibility to provide adequate proof that you meet the above educational requirement. Inadequate or illegible information could result in non-qualification and loss of consideration. (For Individual Occupational Requirements and/or Substitution of Education for specialized experience.
1. Veterans' Preference Documentation: If you are a veteran with preference eligibility, you will be asked to submit a copy of your DD-214 containing your discharge disposition, dates of service, and rank. If you are a preference eligible claiming a service connected disability of 10 percent or more, you will be asked to submit documentation (i.e. a letter dated 1991 or later from the Department of Veterans Affairs or from a branch of the Armed Forces) certifying to the veteran's present receipt of compensation. Veterans must include dates of military service within the automated application process, and submit a copy of each Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD-214. For more information, please visit Special Appointing Authorities for Veterans.
2. Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) documents -
CTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents: 1. A copy of your RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a directed geographic relocation outside of the local commuting area; a Certificate of Expected Separation (CES); or certification that you are in a surplus organization or occupation (this could be a position abolishment letter. a notice of eligibility for discontinued service retirement. or similar notice); 2. A copy of your SF-50 .. Notification of Personnel Action", noting current position, grade/band level, and duty location; 3. A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and 4. Any documentation from your bureau/operating unit that shows your current promotion potential.
ICTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents: 1. A copy of your RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a directed geographic relocation outside of the local commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination, certification from your former agency that it cannot place you after your recovery from a work-related compensable injury; or certification from the National Guard Bureau or Military Department that you are eligible for disability retirement. 2. A copy of your SF-50 "Notification of Personnel Action", documenting your RIF separation, noting your position, grade/band level, and duty location, and/or Agency certification of inability to place you through RPL, etc.; 3. A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and 4. Any documentation from your agency that shows your current promotion potential
You can upload your documents when you register or update your information on the Dept. of Commerce site which you access through the USAJobs site.
Your application and all required documents must be received by 11:59 pm ET on the closing date of this job announcement.
NOTE: The preceding documents requirement are based on job requirements and individual applicant eligibility. Not all documents are applicable to all applicants; if you are unsure which documents apply to you, contact the HR Specialist listed on this announcement.
You MUST apply online. If you experience difficulties with the application process or do not have access to a computer, please contact the HR Specialist listed as the point of contact before the closing date of this job announcement.
If you are a new user to the USAJobs Site and have never registered for an account; you will first need to create an account profile with your basic contact information and a resume to begin applying. You must be a registered USAJobs user AND you must be signed-in to your account in order to apply for this position. For help setting up an account or for general help using USAJobs, go to USAJobs Help Page. Once you have gathered all of the required information and are ready to begin the application process, click the "APPLY" button at the right side of the page. You will then be directed away from USAJobs to the Department of Commerce application site for USPTO. You must click "Submit" at the end of the application process to send your application for consideration.
To return to your saved application, log in to your USAJOBS account at http://www.usajobs.gov/ and click on "Applications." Click on the position title, then select "Update Application."
If you experience any difficulties with the application site, help is available! OPM has a Help feature on each page. Use this option when you need assistance.
All required supporting documents will be collected electronically via the USAJobs "Saved Documents" feature.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is defined as information that can be traced back to a specific individual and potentially compromise their security or privacy. Examples of PII include: date of birth, Social Security Number, and place of birth. Please ensure that you have removed all Personally Identifiable Information from all documents prior to submitting or uploading your applications material.
You will receive a notice generated by the USAJobs System when you have successfully submitted your application.
You will be notified of your application status through USAJOBS at four points during the hiring process, as applicable. You can check the status of your application by accessing the USAJOBS website at http://usajobs.gov/ and clicking on "Track Your Online Application." The four points of notification are:
1. Application Received or Application Incomplete;
2. Minimum Qualification Requirement Met or Minimum Qualification Requirement Not Met;
3. Eligible (Application Referred to the Selecting Official) or Eligible (Application Not Referred to the Selecting Official); and
4. Selected or Not Selected
After all application packages have been received, we will review your application and transcript(s) (if you are qualifying based on education) to ensure you meet the basic qualification requirements. We will evaluate each applicant who meets the basic qualifications on the information provided and you may be contacted for follow-up supplemental documentation. It is the applicant's responsibility to provide any supplemental documents or information requested by the Office of Human Resources within the allocated timeframes.
You will be required to submit official documentation prior to appointment. The agency will then verify the information provided on your application (i.e., degree, veterans' preference, disability, etc.).You can check the status of your application by logging into USAJOBS. You may also sign up to receive automatic emails anytime the status of your application has changed by logging into your USAJobs Account, editing your profile and changing the "Notification Settings" to indicate that you want to be notified by email when the status changes. Information regarding the status of your application should be updated in the system within 2 weeks after the closing date of this job announcement.