The Nature of the Training Provided to USPTO Examiners
Examiner training is a key driver for achieving organizational excellence. Examiner training is focused on delivering high quality work products and providing customer service excellence. Patent examiners and Trademark examining attorneys received extensive legal, technical, and automation training in FY 2010. The USPTO has comprehensive training programs for new patent examiners and trademark examining attorneys, embedding a well-established curriculum including initial legal training, automation training, and training in examination practice and procedure. Automation training is provided to all examiners as new systems are deployed and existing systems are enhanced. New technology-specific legal and technical training was conducted throughout the examining operations. This specific training either focuses on practices particular to a technology or was developed to address training needs identified through patent and trademark examination reviews or staff requests.
The USPTO training staff works with the Patent and Trademark organizations to address specific training concerns and serve as consultants to design specific internal programs to fit the education needs of each business unit. Training is reviewed and evaluated on an ongoing basis to ensure it is up-to-date and that coursework reflects developments and changes that have taken place in the industry.
In FY 2010, the Office of Patent Training (OPT) was awarded the DOC Silver Medal for the ISO 9001:2008 Certification of the new examiner training program in 2009. The OPT implemented two new examiner training programs: 20 day training program for new examiners with prior IP experience and a redesigned eight-month new examiner program into a two-phased 12-month program. OPT also developed a Refresher Training Program and delivered legal and procedural refresher training to experienced patent examiners.
The IP Experienced Examiner Training program is a 20-day program for new examiners with at least one year of IP experience. Training consists of high level legal training, with emphasis on procedural and automation training. Each class can accommodate up to 128 examiners that are placed in labs of 16 for small group discussions and tailored training in their specific fields of study.
A two-phased 12 month New Examiner Training Program is for new examiners with no prior IP experience. The first phase includes four months of training at the Patent Training Academy (PTA) before transitioned to the TCs. Phase 2 includes months five-12 when they return to the PTA each month to complete the first year training. Each Academy class can accommodate up to 144 examiners that are placed in labs of 16 for large group lectures and small group workshops. Examiners have access to tutors, library and search assistance, and automation guidance. In addition to extensive lecture and lab training, attendees spend considerable time learning their jobs through the examination of real patent applications in a setting that provides immediate assistance when needed. The training is structured to provide new examiners with advanced entry-level competencies, as well as providing instruction in a variety of skills that will produce well-rounded, motivated employees.
|U.S. Patent Training Academy Mandatory training for first year examiners||
Training in the Academy
Two training programs: Intellectual Property (IP) Experienced Examiner Training and a two-phase 12-month program.
Individual Development Plan
Examiners in both the IP Experienced and two-phased 12-month training programs have an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP is composed of formal training courses, development assignments, and on-the-job training. The IDP is designed to assist the examiner from day one, through the first 24 months of employment. When the examiner transitions to the Technology Center from the program and graduates from the Academy the IDP will continue to enable the examiner to acquire the competencies essential to perform assigned duties and to prepare for further development.
|Programs for all Examiners||
Legal, Practice & Procedure Training
Continuing Education Series
Training for Patent examiners to enhance their technical and legal knowledge in the examination of patent applications.
|1: These programs were suspended in FY 2010 due to budget constraints. (back to text)|
In FY 2010 in the Trademark organization, using data gathered from the results of quality reviews that were analyzed, were used to prepare the content of on-line e-learning training materials for trademark examining attorneys. Live and Web cast Training Sessions and Modules were developed and released covering the following list of topics.
Law Office Presentations and Computer-Based Training Modules were developed and released covering the following list of topics.
Two Exam Guides and One Exam Note was published:
Other Guidance covering the following topics was also published and released.