Our day started out with a lecture about foreign patents. Which is to say, it was a lecture about how to download foreign patents, and where to go to request foreign patent assistance.
We also had a meeting with a group of SPEs (Supervisor Patent Examiners/Supervisor Primary Examiners, depending on who you ask) who took our questions about productivity, SPE expectations, and how they see our jobs in relation to theirs. They gave us some advice about how to plan our goals and when to get help. Nothing revolutionary, but interesting nonetheless.
The highlight of the day, however, was our meeting with Commissioner Doll. Keep in mind that he had canceled on us two or three times prior to this, so a lot of people were dubious that he would actually show. He did, and he lived up to the hype of him being an engaging and entertaining speaker. He spoke a little about quality and the efforts to increase the retention of examiners.
Of course, there’s no way to know how candid he was; I’m sure the commissioner is asked the same questions many, many times in the course of a week. Considering we’re all new to this, I doubt anyone asked anything that would deviate from his routine.
It was a good experience nonetheless.