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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Administrative Patent Judge
Department:  Department Of Commerce
Agency:  Patent and Trademark Office
Job Announcement Number:  PTAB-2014-0019

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$135,842.00 to $167,000.00 / Per Year
Saturday, February 15, 2014 to Saturday, March 15, 2014
Permanent - Full Time
many vacancies in the following location(s):
Menlo Park, CA View Map
Lakewood, CO View Map
Detroit, MI View Map
Dallas, TX View Map
Alexandria, VA View Map
Applications will be accepted from all United States Citizens and Nationals. This is a Non-bargaining position. More than one position may be filled.
Public Trust - Background Investigation


About the Agency

As an Administrative Patent Judge, you will be working within the largest IP Rights governing body in the nation. You will be supporting economic growth and positioning America as the hub of critical thinking on patent-related matters in the world.

The USPTO has been serving the economic interests of America for more than 200 years. Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia with over 10,000 employees, the USPTO is responsible for granting U.S. intellectual property rights for patents and trademarks. Our engineers, scientists, attorneys, analysts, IT specialists, etc. all are dedicated to accomplishing the USPTO's mission, vision, strategic goals and guiding principles. As a successful USPTO employee you will have eventual access to alternative, flexible schedules and telework. For more information about the USPTO, please visit our websites at


  • Complete application with all required documentation.
  • Proof of bachelor or higher technical degrees and law degrees.
  • Proof of active Bar Membership in good standing.
  • Demonstrated ability to litigate or draft decisions around patentability.
  • Being a U.S. Citizen or National.
  • Writing Sample (answer to Vacancy Question 11 serves as the writing sample)


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An Administrative Patent Judge (APJ) serves as a member of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The PTAB has authority to:

• Hear and adjudicate appeals from decisions of Primary Examiners as to Patentability in patent applications and reissue and re-examination of patents

• Conduct post-grant review proceedings, inter partes review proceedings, derivation proceedings, and Transitional Program for Covered Business Method Patent proceedings, and declare and conduct proceedings in legacy interferences.

As and APJ, you will be expected to:

• Formulate ideas and communicate them effectively to various stakeholders; and

• Draft decisions regarding patentability. 

Though not required, PTAB prefers candidates with 10-15 years of patent experience, including those who have prosecuted and/or litigated patent cases and supervised professional IP teams and/or attorneys. Though not required, PTAB prefers candidates with experience prosecuting and/or litigating electrical, computer, mechanical or data processing patents and patent applications.


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Experience must have been at a sufficiently high level of difficulty to clearly show that the candidate possesses the required professional and technical qualifications to litigate and/or prosecute issues and to draft decisions directed to patentability. 

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 the following Qualifications:
IMPORTANT NOTE: You are expected to furnish all required documents to ultimately qualify for the position. Unofficial undergraduate, graduate and law degree transcripts and Bar certificates can be provided if official copies are unattainable before the closing date of the announcement. Official documents will be accepted after the application is submitted.

To be considered for this position, you must possess the following:

(A) Proof of successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in the study of engineering, chemistry, or biology.

     For an engineering degree, 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, biology, 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.


(C) Proof of successful completion of a law degree (minimum: J.D. or equivalent).

(D) Proof of active membership of the Bar of any state, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or any U.S. territory, in good standing.

(E) Demonstration of recent, extensive and comprehensive experience with the following:

   1. Evaluating combined Intellectual Property (IP) assets and providing legal advice.

   2. Formulating ideas and communicating them effectively to various stakeholders via clear, logically-developed opinions and decisions regarding patentability.

   3. Effectively working with others.

   4. Conducting and managing patent prosecution, examination or administration which demonstrates a thorough knowledge and application of patent laws and rules of practice. 



Your resume, supporting documentation and self-assessment answers will be evaluated for required competencies and specialized experience. The self-assessment questions cover the following competencies:

• Knowledge of legal matters associated with patent prosecution, examination, litigation, and administration.
• Knowledge of Patent Trial and Appeal Board jurisdiction, rules, and procedures.
• Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing
• Knowledge of evaluating, applying, and interpreting patent law
• Ability to lead people
Your application will then be evaluated and rated by a subject matter expert panel via federal government selection procedures.
Qualified applicants are assigned to one of these two categories:
• Best Qualified - Possessing recent exceptional experience with a background that demonstrates a superior level of knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies required to perform the duties of the position
• Well Qualified - Possessing good recent experience with a background that demonstrates a satisfactory level of knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies required to perform the duties of the position
To preview questions please click here.


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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 is a Non-Bargaining Unit position.
This is a Public Trust position and has a risk level designation of "high." 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 by authorizing fingerprinting, a credit check and a background investigation.
Probationary Period - If selected, you will be required to complete a two-year probationary period.
All Federal employees must receive salary payments by direct deposit.
Drug Testing - All applicants tentatively selected for this position may be required to submit to a drug test to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment and, if appointed, the individual will be subjected to random drug testing procedures. All appointments are contingent upon a negative drug test result.
Relocation expenses will not be paid.
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978, as amended, requires senior officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branches to file public reports of their finances as well as other interests outside the Government. If selected for this position you will be required to file a Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 278). The OGE 278 is available to the public. The primary purpose of disclosure is to assist agencies in identifying potential conflicts of interest between a filer's official duties and the filer's private financial interests and affiliations.
The USPTO participates in E-VERIFY. For more information on E-Verify, please visit here.
Physical Location:
Administrative Patent Judges will work from the office of the city selected. 

Opportunities for telework are available from all offices. Generally, telework will not be available during the first 6 – 9 months.

Some travel to USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, VA for initial and subsequent training may be required.

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 ( or phone (571-272-8292).


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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

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, OR
• Fax documents to 571-258-4052 using the system-generated fax coversheet.

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


A complete application includes the following documents submitted BY THE CLOSING DATE of this announcement:

1. Cover Letter explaining, at a minimum, your interest in the position and your first preference for office location (if interested in multiple locations).

2. Resume 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.) Resumes should clearly address any relevant experience in electrical, computer, mechanical technologies, and/or with data processing matters.

3. Responses to self-assessment questions. Answers to questions not fully supported by your resume may result in rating adjustments. Also, any experience claimed in a cover letter should also be substantiated by your resume.

4. Education Documentation • Transcripts: Undergraduate, graduate and law school 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., Computer Engineering), GPA, Semester hours completed, Course names and grades • Foreign Education: Documentation for education completed outside the United States must demonstrate that the education is equivalent to that of an accredited U.S. educational institution.

5. Proof of active Bar Membership (Good Standing)


Isis Thomas
Phone: 571-272-4363
Fax: 571-258-4052
Agency Information:
550 Elizabeth Lane
Alexandria, VA
Fax: 571-258-4052


You will be notified by USAJobs after successfully submitting your application. You can check your application status through USAJobs. To sign up for automated email status updates: • Log into your USAJobs Account • Edit your profile • Change 'Notification Settings'
Applications received by Feb 18, Feb 24, Mar 3, Mar 10 and Mar 15 will be reviewed by Human Resources and placed into the recruitment process.

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