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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Patent Examiner (Computer Engineering)
Department:  Department Of Commerce
Agency:  Patent and Trademark Office
Job Announcement Number:  CP-2014-0024

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$70,598.00 to $91,778.00 / Per Year
Monday, January 27, 2014 to Sunday, May 25, 2014
This is a Full-time permanent position - Career/Career-Conditional appointment in the competitive service.
MANY vacancies - Denver, CO   View Map


U.S. Citizens and Nationals
**Cut off date was changed to 4/16/14 at 11:59 PM (EST), which may be updated again at management's request, during the open period for this announcement.**


Public Trust - Background Investigation


About the Agency

Applications will be accepted from students who expect to complete qualifying education within 9 months from the date of application. USPTO requires verification of successful completion before extending a final offer.  THIS VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT IS FOR POSITIONS LOCATED IN DENVER, CO AREA ONLY. YOUR APPLICATION TO THIS VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT WILL ONLY ALLOW CONSIDERATION FOR THIS ANNOUNCEMENT AND THIS DUTY STATION.

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. Our efforts have provided inventors exclusive rights over their discoveries. It's an effort that continues to contribute to a strong global economy, to encourage investment in innovation and to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit for the 21st century. The USPTO is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, and has over 12,000 employees, including engineers, scientists, attorneys, analysts, IT specialists, etc. all dedicated to accomplishing the USPTO’s mission, vision, strategic goals and guiding principles. For more information about the USPTO, please visit the USPTO Careers Website.

Please read this entire announcement before submitting application materials.


  • Not Required


  • No


  • Engineering degree or combination of engineering edu. & tech. experience
  • Basic Qualifications plus additional Specialized Experience
  • U.S. Citizen or National
  • Live near, or be willing to relocate or commute to the Denver, CO area
  • Submit a complete application and furnish all required documentation
  • Enjoy research and work well autonomously


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A patent examiner (PE) reviews patent applications to determine if they comply with Federal law and regulation and scientific principle. A PE scrutinizes patent applications, determines the scope of protection claimed by the inventor, researches relevant technologies, and communicates findings and decisions to patent practitioners and/or inventors.  The PE conducts extensive reviews of a large body of technical information, including detailed drawings as represented in electrical schematic, 3-dimensional mechanical portrayed drawings or chemical manufacturing process diagrams.
The position requires the analytical ability to efficiently digest large volumes of scientific information and to use this in making timely decisions regarding the patentability of an application. The PE reviews patent applications and writes office actions in a production-oriented environment. Almost all of the PE's work is performed using a computer and is visually very demanding.
As a PE, you will independently perform patent examining functions and formulate or recommend appropriate action with respect to:

  • Checking applications for technical accuracy and compliance with formal requirements
  • Treating disclosure statements and claims of priority
  • Analyzing disclosure and claims for compliance with 35 USC 112
  • Planning a field of search
  • Conducting search
  • Formulating rejections under 35 USC 102 and 103 with supporting rationale, or determining how claim(s) distinguish over the prior art
  • Determining whether amendment introduces new matter
  • Determining whether restriction is proper
  • Determining whether claimed invention is operable/useful as disclosed
After preliminary instruction, you will perform patent examining functions and formulate or recommend appropriate action with respect to:
  • Evaluating / applying case law as necessary
  • Evaluating sufficiency of affidavits / declarations
  • Determining whether appropriate line of patentable distinction is maintained between application and/or patents
  • Evaluating sufficiency of reissue oath / declaration
This is a Computer Engineering position for experienced Intellectual Property professionals. If you do not have Intellectual Property work experience, or if Computer Engineering is not your area of expertise, please consult our Careers Website and consider one of our other open Patent Examiner positions. We regularly have openings for Patent Examiner positions in disciplines such as:
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering


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Applications will be accepted from students who expect to complete qualifying education within 9 months from the date of application. USPTO requires verification of successful completion before extending a final offer.  You must meet the United States Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.  To qualify for this position, you must meet BOTH requirements:  I. Basic Qualifications AND II. Specialized Experience.  (See details below including how certain graduate level education can substitute for specialized experience.)

To meet the Basic Qualification requirements, you must have either:  (A) successfully completed a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in Engineering; OR (B) a combination of qualifying education and experience:

A) Successfully completed a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in Engineering (See REQUIRED DOCUMENTS).
The curriculum must:

1. Be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum;

2. Include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas:
a) statics, dynamics
b) strength of materials (stress-strain relationships)
c) fluid mechanics, hydraulics
d) thermodynamics
e) electrical fields and circuits
f) nature and properties of materials (relating to particle and aggregate structure to properties)
g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics or electronics
B) A combination of Education and Experience.
This combination of college level education, training and/or technical experience must have furnished both:
    • A thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying professional engineering;
    • A good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the engineering sciences and techniques and their application to professional engineering

    This can be demonstrated by one of the following:
   1. Professional registration-- Current registration as a professional engineer by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam or Puerto Rico.
   2. Written test-- Evidence of passing the Engineer-in-Training (EIT) examination or the written test required for professional registration, administered by the Boards of Engineering Examiners in various States, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico.
   3. Specified academic courses-- Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours in the physical, mathematical and engineering sciences and including the courses specified in the basic requirements. The courses must be fully acceptable toward meeting the requirements of a professional engineering curriculum as described in paragraph A.
   4. Related curriculum-- Successful completion of a curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in engineering technology or in an appropriate professional field, e.g., physics, chemistry, architecture, computer science, mathematics, hydrology, or geology, may be accepted in lieu of an Engineering degree, provided the applicant has had at least 1 year of professional engineering experience with professional engineering supervision and guidance.

II. SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE In addition to the BASIC QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS, you must meet SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE requirements. You must have either: (A) At least 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-9 grade level in the Federal Service; or (B) Qualifying graduate level education leading to a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree; or (C) A combination of "A" qualifying specialized experience and "B" qualifying graduate level education.
A) At least 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-9 grade level in the Federal service, including BOTH:
1. TECHNICAL EXPERIENCE - Interpreting and applying advanced electrical engineering and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts and methodologies for the application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism to develop and use in a variety of products and services. Technical areas of experience may include:

  • Memory access / control ( e.g. Memory/semiconductor:  EEPROM, Flash memory, volatile memory, MJT, MRAM, PRAM, or DRAM)
  • Software development or configuration and initialization, operating systems
  • Artificial intelligence (e.g. robotic control, fuzzy logic, neural networks, statistics)
  • Security (e.g. computers, networks, cryptography, information)
  • Computer graphics and visualization
  • Database management (e.g. data structure, file management)
  • Computer control (e.g. simulation, modeling, emulation, human machine interface)
  • Networking / Communications (e.g. digital signal processing)
  • Semiconductor and digital logic testing
  • Biomedical
  • Industrial (e.g., Operations Research, Engineering Economics, Finance, Logistics, Engineering Management)
  • Ecommerce

2. PATENT PROSECUTION EXPERIENCE - Evaluating patent applications using appropriate knowledge of electrical engineering. In addition to the Technical Experience above, you must have experience in BOTH
          a. Determining or arguing whether patent claims distinguish from the prior art
          b. Planning and conducting prior art searches related to patent applications

          In addition, some combination of the following activities can supplement items #a and #b above to represent qualifying patent prosecution experience. 
          •Writing or responding to rejections under 35 USC 102 and 103
          •Drafting or amending disclosure and claims for compliance with 35 USC 112 
          •Drafting or reviewing patent applications to ensure technical accuracy and compliance with formal requirements
          •Verifying that specification and claim amendments do not introduce new matter
          •Treating disclosure statements and claims of priority 


B) Three years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D., or equivalent doctoral degree as stated in the Basic Qualification Requirements. One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent one year of full-time study. If that number cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will be considered an academic year of graduate study. 

C) Less than the full amount of graduate education as described in "B" above and less than the amount of experience described in "A" above, but have a combination of the type of graduate education and experience described above.


Your resume, supporting documentation and self-assessment answers will be evaluated for required competencies and experience.
The self-assessment questions cover the following competencies:
• Knowledge of patent examining functions and experience in the preparation / prosecution of patent applications
• Knowledge of scientific and technical matters associated with the patent process in a designated art area (professional scientific or engineering field) 
• Knowledge of legal matters associated with patent examination practices, processes and procedures
• Ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing
Your application will then be evaluated and rated under Category Rating and Selection procedures.

Qualified applicants are assigned to one of these two categories:
Best Qualified – Applicant has exceptional experience and can demonstrate a superior degree of proficiency in the required competencies
Well Qualified – Applicant has good experience and can demonstrate a satisfactory degree of proficiency in the required competencies

Veterans’ Preference For information and eligibility requirements, please visit the VetGuide. If you are eligible, please indicate on your resume the type of Veterans' Preference you are claiming and provide the appropriate documentation described under REQUIRED DOCUMENTS.

Click here for details on Category Rating, including how Veterans’ Preference is applied.
To preview questions please click here.


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You may be contacted for an interview within three weeks of the closing date of this announcement.

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. Visit the Selective Service System website for details.

This position is covered by a USPTO labor union.

This is a Public Trust position and has a risk level designation of “moderate.”

Financial Disclosure - You may be required to file a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report to avoid involvement in a real or apparent conflict of interest.

Background Investigation - If invited for an interview, you may be required to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306) to determine your suitability for Federal employment by authorizing fingerprinting, a credit check and a background investigation. You may be required to sign and certify the accuracy of all the information in your application. If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired, you may be fired after you begin work, or you may be fined.

Probationary Period - If selected, you may be required to complete a one-year probationary period.

All Federal employees must receive salary payments by direct deposit.

Relocation expenses will not be paid.

Individuals who have special priority selection rights under the Agency Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) will be eligible if they exceed the minimum qualifications with a rating of 80 to 100. For information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, click here. See “REQUIRED DOCUMENTS” for CTAP/ICTAP documentation requirements.


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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.

All application materials become the property of the USPTO.

You MUST apply online. If you need help or do not have access to a computer, contact the HR Specialist listed as the point of contact before the closing date of this job announcement. 

If you have never registered for a USAJobs account, you must first create an account profile with your basic contact information and a resume. Sign in to your account to apply. For help, see the USAJobs Help Page

When you have gathered all of the required information and are ready to begin applying, click the "APPLY ONLINE" button. You will be directed away from USAJobs to the Department of Commerce’s USPTO application site.

NEED HELP? If you have problems completing the online application, contact the Monster Hiring Management Help Desk at 1-866-656-6831 or by email at


A complete application includes the following documents submitted by the closing date of this announcement:
1. Resume (cover letter optional) including:
   • Citizenship
   • Job-related qualifications
   • Education
   • Work experience (including job titles, salary, employment dates, duties and accomplishments, and how any experience relates to the competencies listed in the job announcement.)
Responses to self-assessment questions not fully supported by your resume may result in rating adjustments. Any experience claimed in a cover letter should also be substantiated by your resume.
2. Education Documentation
Transcripts: College transcripts or a statement from the institution or equivalent documentation will be accepted. Inadequate or illegible information could result in non-qualification. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable for the initial application; however, if selected, you must furnish official transcripts two weeks before entrance on duty. Transcripts must include:
   • Applicant Name
   • Name of College/University
   • Type of Degree (e.g., Bachelor of Science)
   • Discipline (e.g., Biomedical Engineering, Computer Engineering)
   • GPA
   • Semester hours completed
   • Course names and grades
•  Foreign Education: Applicants who have completed part or all of their education outside of the U.S. must have their foreign education evaluated by an accredited organization to ensure that the foreign education is comparable to education received in accredited educational institutions in the U.S. This evaluation must be provided by midnight Eastern Time on the closing date of this vacancy announcement. We will only accept the completed foreign education evaluation. For more information on Foreign Education verification, visit the 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.

Please submit any other supporting documentation by the closing date of this announcement. You may be contacted within 7 business days of the closing date to submit the following supporting documentation if you do not submit it with your application. Applicants claiming Veterans' Preference or CTAP/ICTAP eligibility who fail to submit supplemental documentation within 3 days of receiving the request will not lose consideration for this position; however, they will not be entitled to special or priority consideration.

Documents that may be requested after the closing date are:
1. Veterans' Preference Documentation:
5-point Veterans’ Preference - Member 4 copy of each Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD-214 or an official statement of service from your command if you are currently on active duty, or other official documentation (e.g., copy of military orders, campaign documents or expeditionary award citation, etc.) that proves your military service was performed under honorable conditions.
10-point Veterans’ Preference
  o Member 4 copy of our DD-214,
  o Standard Form (SF) 15, “Application for 10-Point Veterans’ Preference”, and
  o An official statement, 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
For more information about Veterans’ Preference, click here.
2. Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) Documentation (all of the below):
• A copy of your specific RIF notice, written notice of your expected separation or other documentation of priority consideration status
• A copy of your latest SF-50 noting current position, grade level and duty location
• A copy of your last performance appraisal
• Documentation from your agency showing your current promotion potential
To submit supporting documents during the Vacancy Open Period:
• Upload documents when you register with USAJobs, or update your application on the Department of Commerce application site accessed through USAJobs,
• Fax documents to 571-258-4052 using the system-generated fax cover sheet.

Your application and all required documentation must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on the closing date of this job announcement.


Susan Lewis
Phone: 571-272-4109
Fax: 000-000-0000
Agency Information:
550 Elizabeth Lane
Elizabeth Townhouse
Alexandria, VA
Fax: 000-000-0000


You will receive notification by USAJobs in your USAJobs account after successfully submitting your application.  After this vacancy announcement closes or a cutoff date occurs, we will review your application and required documentation to determine your qualifications and to verify any Veteran’s Preference claim.

Here is a general idea of the timing of the process from the date the vacancy announcement closes (or a cutoff date occurs):
    1.  OHR reviews applications for qualifications – about 2 weeks
    2.  Hiring Officials review applications, conduct interviews and make selections – about 4-6 weeks
    3.  OHR extends job offers – about 1-2 weeks
TOTAL ESTIMATED TIME FRAME – Approximately 10 weeks
During this time, you might not hear from us directly, but you may check the status of your application any time by logging into USAJobs at  To sign up for automated email status updates:
  • Sign in to USAJobs
  • Edit your profile
  • Under ‘Account Information’, change 'Notification Settings'

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