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    Come work for the USPTO, we have been ranked as one of the best places to work in the federal government! The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been serving the economic interests of America for more than 200 years. We are responsible for granting US intellectual property rights for patents and trademarks. The USPTO is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, and has over 12,000 employees. For more information about the USPTO, please visit the USPTO Jobs Website.

    Learn more about this agency


    This vacancy is limited to the first 500 applications received.  All applications received prior to midnight (11:59 ET) of the day the application limit is reached will be accepted and considered. If the application limit is not reached by the closing date of the announcement, all applications received during the open period will be considered. Any required documents must be submitted at the time that you apply as documents will not be accepted past the day the application limit is reached, if applicable.

    The USPTO is seeking outstanding candidates for a Summer Externship Program to assist in our mission. .  As a Student Extern, you will receive practical experience by engaging in a variety of diverse and challenging activities.  Exciting opportunities await you!  Come join us and contribute to the accomplishment of organizational goals in an intellectual property environment.  Your extern experience will be further enhanced by participating in sessions with agency executives and other USPTO leadership where you will gain insight into USPTO programs. The program is scheduled to begin on June 1, 2021, and end no later than August 27, 2021. Please note that this program may be held in a virtual work environment. We ask that our externs commit to at least 12 weeks of service.

    Office of the Commissioner for Patents (Patent Examiner Externs Only)

    Primary duties may include, but are not limited to:

    • Researching and reviewing of patent applications
    • Conducting prior art searches
    • Briefing management officials on technology content
    • Drafting non-final office actions
    • Proposing an engineering position based on findings
    • Formulating written legal position dealing with a range of issues from intellectual property to drafting positions on petition decisions
    • Drafting policy, proposing outreach strategies
    • Participating in outreach activities

    All other USPTO Business Offices:  The Office of the Under Secretary (OUS), Office of the Commissioner for Patent (Patent – all other positions), Office of the Commissioner for Trademarks (Trademarks), Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (OCAO), Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA), Office of the Chief Communications Officer (OCCO), Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).

    Primary duties may include, but are not limited to:

    • Researching materials and preparing information
    • Benchmarking other agencies and private industry companies
    • Participating in group/team assignments
    • Assisting with special projects and new initiatives
    • Managing databases and inputting information
    • Review and analyzing information
    • Drafting various documents and reports
    • Creating electronic and hard copy case files, maintaining files
    • Communicating with customers via phone, e-mail and/or face- to-face
    • Assisting in preparing for a variety of training classes
    • Designing various strategies and presentations
    • Assisting with redesigning business process improvement activities
    • Testing various software and systems
    • Creating spreadsheets/charts, etc. using a variety of data sources and information
    • Assisting in preparing for and observing hearings, cases, panels, interviews, and documenting results
    • Assisting with researching and contributing toward analysis of IP protection and enforcement policies of U.S. and of selected foreign countries        
    • Assisting in outreach to Members of Congress, state and local elected officials
    • Assisting economists and technical staff in conducting groundbreaking economic research on innovation and intellectual property

    Travel Required

    Not required

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential

    00 - No promotion potential.

  • Job family (Series)

    0099 General Student Trainee

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    Conditions Of Employment

    • You must be a U.S. Citizen or National.
    • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (www.sss.gov)
    • Meet educational requirement.

    Must be enrolled as a high school or degree-seeking student in a qualifying educational institution. 


    All applicants applying to participate in the externship must meet the following requirements:

    1. Must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a high school or degree-seeking student at an accredited university (either an undergraduate, graduate, law school or post-graduate). 

    2. Must be in good academic standing.


    Additional information

    Applicants applying for this position must be a United States Citizen or National. 

    Background Investigation - If selected for this position, you may be required to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306), to determine your suitability for Federal employment.  

    The USPTO participates in E-Verify. For more information on E-Verify, please visit the Department of Homeland Security Website.

    Relocation Expenses are not authorized and will not be paid.

    All application materials become the property of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

    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 (oeeod@uspto.gov) or phone (571-272-8292). 

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    There is no testing, rating of applicants for this program. Eligibility for appointment is based on applicants meeting the basic requirements for the position as documented in the resume and responses to the assessment questions. 

    Falsifying your background, education, and/or experience is cause for immediate dismissal.  

    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).

    To preview questions please click here.

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Not Required

    Drug test required


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    Required Documents

    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 job titles, salary, employment dates, duties and accomplishments, experience.

    2. Transcripts and/or an Official Letter for Proof of Enrollment for the upcoming semester at a qualifying educational institution: You MUST submit copies of your college transcripts for verification of the education requirements. Unofficial copies are acceptable when submitting your application package.  However, if selected you will be required to furnish official transcripts. Also, proof of enrollment is required upon selection for the externship.  It is your responsibility to provide adequate proof that you meet the above educational requirements. Inadequate or illegible information could result in non-qualification and loss of consideration.

    You can choose ONE of the following methods to submit Supporting Documents:

    1) You can upload your documents when you register or update your information on the Department of Commerce application site which you access through the USAJobs site.


    2) You can fax your documents to 571-258-4254 using the system generated fax cover sheet.

    If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

    Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.

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    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.

    A comprehensive benefits package is NOT provided for the unpaid Externship Program.  

    Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement

    Federal agencies, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. 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. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

    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.

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    How to Apply

    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 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 ONLINE" 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! If you have problems completing your on-line application, contact the Monster Hiring Management Help Desk at 1-866-656-6831 or by e-mail at MGSHELP@monster.com. The help desk is available Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. You may call and leave a voice mail message at all other times.

    All required supporting documents will be collected electronically via the USAJobs “Saved Documents” feature.

    Agency contact information

    Nneka Ukpabi








    550 Elizabeth Lane
    Elizabeth Townhouse
    Alexandria, Virginia 22314
    United States
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    The externship is intended to give students an opportunity to experience what it's like to work at PTO, as well as interact with experts in several disciplines, explore opportunities and develop or enhance personal and professional skills. As an extern with the USPTO, you will be working with the largest Intellectual Property Rights entity in the nation. 

    Next steps

    You will receive a notice generated by the USAJobs System when you have successfully submitted your application. 

    You will also receive notification through USAJOBS at each of the following points during the application process: (1) application received; (2) applicant assessed for qualifications; (3) applicant referred or not referred; 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.

    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.

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment 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 factor.

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:

  • An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
  • An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Legal and regulatory guidance

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/585121400. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.