The Interview

Today went by fairly quickly. We checked our computer accounts to make sure all the requisite tools were there, and we prepared ourselves for the interview. Most of that preparation was really just rehashing arguments we’d had the day before and had either left unresolved or changed our minds about while mulling them over at night.

The interview was at one, and our attorney found flaws in most of what we’d done, which was to be expected. I think we all appreciated the experience and learned a great deal from someone with so much experience, and who had not lost enthusiasm for the job after so many years. I could say many more positive things about the experience, but I will refrain since I think revealing anything more might expose identities.

Tomorrow we will have our first lecture (and quiz). I’m looking forward to it!



We had a brief overview of what we’re going to be learning over the next eight months. I must be a law geek at heart, because I was really salivating to get into it all.

Instead, however, we did some team building exercises. The old “Make a shield/coat of arms that…” thing. I was surprised that we were doing it, and I do have to say that I wanted to get into some real learning. A lot of places do icebreakers/team-builders, though, so I suppose it isn’t too odd.

Later on, however, we got our first “examination project.” We were given some basic information on 35 USC 101,102, 103, and 112, along with an abandoned patent and some possible prior art patents. The goal was to have us work as teams and to “struggle.” That is, with no guidance from our trainers, we were supposed to try to interpret the statutes. And yes, one of the stated objectives was that we would observe that different people could read the same words differently, which was certainly evident.

I have to say, I really, really enjoyed it. This is why I’m here… to learn the law and procedures, and to become as good of a patent examiner as I can be. It is fun to read patents, examine the language carefully, and see how the law would apply. I don’t know why… it just is.

Anyway, tomorrow we will have to defend our “office actions” in an attorney interview. Should be fun.


About this blog…

I don’t know if/when anyone will read this blog, but I’ll be clear up front: The views expressed here are in no way to be construed to represent the opinions of the USPTO or any state, federal, or local government agency.

This is not a dirt-slinging blog.  When I was researching the position, I didn’t find much about the patent academy itself.  The academy didn’t even start until 2006, so it is understandable that there isn’t a whole lot of information available.  My goal is just to share a glimpse of what life in the academy is like.

I will not name names.  I will not insult, impugn, or otherwise malign the USPTO or its policies.  I am excited by this job, and if I reach a moment of disillusionment that would tempt me to write something inappropriate, the blog will simply go silent.


Welcome to the USPTO!

Call me old-fashioned, but I felt a stirring in my breast when I took the Oath of Office.

I don’t know how many people take it seriously, or how many people think of themselves as really being public servants, but it is true.  We are here to uphold the Constitution.  For many people, it is only an old piece of parchment with no claim to greatness or Philosophical knowledge than any other.  I make no secret of the fact that I think the Constitution represents a sacred moment in the history of the world.  But I digress.

Day 1: Today was mostly filling out paperwork.  The assumption seems to be that most people won’t have come to the orientation session having properly filled out their paperwork.  We covered health care options.  Ethics, EEO, etc.  Really standard fare for large companies, at least in my experience.  Tomorrow we will begin to learn about our jobs as patent examiners, which is very exciting to me; I have been reading blogs, fora, and any other information I could get my hands on to learn about the position and what it entails.  In that sense, today was a bit anticlimactic… I want to get to the meat.  But I understand that paperwork has to be done.

I do have to say that I am not designed to get up this early!