Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership
Thursday Nov 06, 2014

Patent Examiner Technical Training: Connecting Scientific Experts with Patent Examiners to Strengthen the Patent System

Blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee

In February of this year, the White House issued three new executive actions aimed, in part, at strengthening the quality and accessibility of our patent system. One of these initiatives focused on the critical need for examiners to stay up-to-date in their technical fields of expertise through more robust technical training to enable them to perform the best examination possible. We address this request from the president via our Patent Examiner Technical Training Program (PETTP).

PETTP allows scientists, engineers, professors, industrial designers, and other technology experts the opportunity to provide technical training directly to patent examiners. Specifically, volunteer guest lecturers share their expertise on technical developments, the state of the art, emerging trends, maturing technologies, and recent innovations. Just this year, more than ninety experts have provided training to examiners on topics ranging from nanotechnology to virtual reality welding to the chemistry of chocolate. We thank those individuals who have already participated in the program and are eager to add new volunteers to our training roster going forward.

PETTP events are hosted throughout the year to meet the scheduling needs of presenting volunteers and our staff. Experts who are willing to give their time and incur any travel expenses can visit the USPTO in Alexandria, one of our satellite offices in Denver and Detroit, or present via Webcast from their own location.  In calendar year 2015 our satellite offices in Silicon Valley and Dallas will also be open to host PETTP events.  Presentation formats are flexible and generally are up to two hours in length, including a question and answer session.

For the first time this year, we are hosting a Tech Week for our examiners to offer training during a concentrated span of five days. From December 1 to 5, speakers from all technical fields will give lectures to the examiners in all of the USPTO’s Technology Centers. We are especially in need of speakers in the biotech, chemical, communications, design areas, so I invite those of you with expertise in these fields to consider participating.

It’s easy to volunteer for PETTP training—either for Tech Week or any other time of year; simply sign up through an online form or email us at Examiner_Technical_Training@uspto.gov. Together, we are building an even stronger patent system through initiatives like PETTP. Be part of this development by volunteering as a PETTP technical lecturer.

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