Director's Blog: the latest from USPTO leadership

« Realignment in the... | Blog homepage | Increased Fees v.... »
Thursday Mar 22, 2012

Recruiting for Innovation

Guest Blog by USPTO Chief Administrative Officer Patricia Richter

USPTO is on the move. The enactment of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act has allowed the USPTO to launch several transformative initiatives that are not only making it easier for businesses to navigate the patenting and trademark processes—but also helping the U.S. usher groundbreaking innovations to the marketplace, faster. Inherent in the realization of this goal is our ability to attract and retain top talent.
The agency is actively seeking exceptional individuals for patent examiner positions. We’re looking for individuals who hold (or will within the next 12 months) engineering and science degrees in a variety of disciplines. We are also seeking candidates who have accredited state law degrees and experience with intellectual property law. As we all know, a career as a patent examiner at the USPTO is one where we can—quite literally—imagine the possibilities. We represent one of the world’s largest and most sought-after patent systems, conducting research and interacting with applicants who are working on inventive, modern breakthroughs. And we offer a benefits package that is highly competitive with strong salaries, promotion potential, and access to bonus programs, paid overtime, top notch healthcare and retirement plans. Furthermore, we frequently hear positive comments on the work/life balance we achieve here, with access to telework, alternative work schedules, world-class fitness centers and onsite childcare—elements that are hard to put a price on.

Meanwhile, the agency has a goal to hire 10 percent of its total recruits from our nation’s veteran and transitioning military servicemember population. Veterans who transition into the civilian workforce have a strong track record of success at USPTO, with robust training and instruction and access to a USPTO Military Association made up of individuals who can help mentor you as you grow.

Additionally, we’re excited to open our first satellite office in Detroit, Michigan in July of this year. This is a great opportunity for new patent examiners to be a pioneering presence in the heart of America’s manufacturing sector. (Don't forget our Open House event in Detroit this Saturday!) While the big recruitment push is focused primarily on patent examiners, there are other exciting opportunities for IT professionals, trademark attorneys, and administrative patent judges, just to name a few.

Just like in our daily, mission-related work, we’re looking for ways to be innovative in our recruitment efforts as well. If you have ideas on how we can more effectively target exceptional candidates, we’d love to know. Please share them in the comments section below. And you can learn more about a career with the USPTO and see our job vacancies at


I was offered a position at the USPTO but I could not accept the position since they could not "guarantee" me tele-work. I think you would get more high quality candidates if you could offer the guarantee of tele-work instead of a policy of "we'll talk about it once you start work." Re-location was not an option for me (except for the required training and short term assignments), though I was a very well qualified candidate. I realize you may have your reasons for this policy but you might want to re-consider your policy if you want to catch a wider net of qualified candidates.

Posted by Andrew Gray on March 22, 2012 at 02:22 PM EDT #

I agree with Mr. Gray. Although the USPTO's telework initiative is already the best in the federal government, the Office should expand the initiative to make it available immediately upon hiring for the majority of this country that is unable to move to the D.C. area, allowing the Office to obtain and retain qualified candidates.

Posted by James on March 24, 2012 at 11:49 AM EDT #

Unwillingness to relocate is a strong indicator that a prospective employee will not be dedicated to his or her job. Next we'll have people commenting that they wanted to become park rangers but the NPS is unfair because it won't agree to move a national park to the other side of the country so they can have a shorter commute.

Posted by Bill S. on April 08, 2012 at 03:37 PM EDT #

Post a Comment:
Comments are closed for this entry.