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    The USPTO is a fully user fee-funded organization with an annual budget in excess of $3 billion and approximately 13,000 employees comprised largely of engineers, scientists, and attorneys.  The USPTO operates as a performance-based organization; has received an unqualified audit opinion for thirteen consecutive years; formulates a performance-based budget; and is transitioning to electronic end-to-end processing of both patent and trademark applications.

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    This position is located in the Office of the Commissioner for Patents.  The Director of the Office of Patent Legal Administration (OPLA) reports to the Assistant Commissioner for Patents – Legal (ACPL) in the Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Patents – Legal (DCPL).  

    The Director of OPLA provides strategic vision, guidance, and direction to ensure that OPLA provides the necessary legal and policy guidance to internal and external stakeholders. The Director makes legal, managerial and technical decisions required for successful program development, administration, and management.

    The Director of OPLA performs the following duties:

    • Provides legal and policy guidance to the Commissioner for Patents, the Deputy Commissioners for Patents, and the Assistant Commissioners for Patents.

    • Assists in the development and implementation of patent law, provides means for its implementation, and formulates the accompanying regulations and practices.

    • Monitors specialized programs such as reexamination, reissue, and patent term extension.

    • Assists in efforts to negotiate the harmonization of patent laws and other international matters.

    • Provides the Manual of Patent Examining (MPEP) staff with suggested changes to the MPEP as a result of changes to patent rules and legal developments.

    • Updates forms used by the patent examining corps and USPTO customers to reflect changes made to patent rules, for changes due to policy initiatives, and to enhance processing.

    • Supervises legal policy advisors who provide staff assistance on special projects or studies as may be assigned by the Director of OPLA, the Assistant Commissioner for Patents - Legal (ACPL), the Deputy Commissioner for Patents -Legal (DCPL), and the Commissioner for Patents, and other business units.

                   -Advisory duties include preparing notices, reports and other documents, as appropriate, with legal analysis, policy recommendations, and rulemaking;

                   -Researches case law, appropriate rules, facts-in-evidence, and other pertinent information; and

                   -Assists the public with legal and policy questions;

    • Advises on policy implications with top USPTO management officials.

    • Prepares/approves USPTO petition decisions and final agency actions for signature by the Director, the DCPL, or other top USPTO management officials.

                 -Reviews staff petition decisions:

                 -Assists the Office of Petitions in deciding petitions, which have been delegated to that office for consideration; and

                 -Supports the Central Reexamination Unit in deciding petitions or advising on decisions relating to reexamination practice

    • Represents the USPTO and explains US patent law and Office policies and procedures in letters, phone calls, lectures and other contacts with members of the public and the patent bar.

    The physical worksite for this position is located in Alexandria, VA. However, the USPTO is currently under a mandatory telework posture due to the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, this position is currently under a 100 percent telework schedule. The position’s telework schedule will likely change in the future when USPTO moves away from its mandatory telework posture. At that time, the incumbent will be expected to report to the physical work site in accordance with the updated status requirements of their supervisor. The nature and scope of future telework opportunities will be subject to the unit’s telework policy, any applicable bargaining unit agreements, and supervisory approval. Payment of relocation expenses, as applicable, will be paid in accordance with this Job Opportunity Announcement. Non-compliance with the supervisor's telework-schedule requirement could result in adverse action, including separation.

    Travel Required

    Occasional travel - Occasional Travel may be required.

    Supervisory status


    Promotion Potential


  • Job family (Series)

    1220 Patent Administration

This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/607522300. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.