Patent Examiner - Mechanical Engineering
Department Of Commerce - Alexandria, VA

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Yearning for a job that harnesses the power of innovation, yet provides work/life balance? Look no further! As a Patent Examiner with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), you'll be working with the largest Intellectual Property Rights entity in the nation. You'll be supporting economic growth and positioning America as one of the world's top innovators. You'll gain experience, training and mentorship you won't get anywhere else. You'll conduct research and interact with applicants who are working on inventive, modern breakthroughs. You'll have access to alternative, flexible schedules and telework. You'll be doing something great for your country and for yourself.

Applications will be accepted from students who expect to complete qualifying education within 9 months from the date of application. However, the agency will verify that the education was completed successfully before the applicant can be appointed.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 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 9,500 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 visit our website www.USPTO.gov

The Office of Human Resources strongly encourages you to read the vacancy announcement in its entirety before submitting application materials. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the individual listed under "Agency Contact Info." Your application may not get full consideration if you do not follow the instructions as outlined in the job announcement.

KEY REQUIREMENTS

You must be a U.S. Citizen or National.

Responses to the job specific self assessment questions are required.

DUTIES:
Patent Examiners are responsible for the quality and timely processing of patent applications.

At the GS-7 level , the employee performs basic patent examining functions (e.g., planning and conducting the search, applying references to the claimed invention, etc.) only after receiving extensive preliminary instructions from the supervisor. Training emphasizes developing an understanding of the relationship of the technical concepts underlying the specialty technology area to the patent examining process. Assignments are pre-selected to combine performance of productive work with supervised on-the-job training in both the judgmental and methodological aspects of the work.

At the GS-9 level , the employee independently performs basic patent examining functions (e.g., planning and conducting the search, applying references to the patent application, etc.) with no preliminary instructions from the supervisor. The employee performs assignments of average difficulty in the assigned area of technology relative to the patent examining function requiring the application of fundamental principles, concepts, techniques, and guidelines relative to patent examining. May perform advanced patent examining functions (e.g., the evaluation of special claim constructions, the requirement of restrictions, the recognition and development of probable interferences, etc.) only after obtaining instructions from the supervisor and all determinations involving such functions are subject to close review.

QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:
  • Note: Applications will be accepted from students who expect to complete qualifying education within 9 months from the date of application. However, the agency will verify that the education was completed successfully before the applicant can be appointed.
You must meet the United States Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) qualification requirements for the advertised position. OPM's prescribed Group Coverage Qualification Standards can be found at: http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/Standards/IORs/gs1200/1224.htm. You must meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of the announcement.

Education can be substituted for experience.

BASIC QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR MECHANICAL ENGINEERING:
A. Have at least a bachelor degree in Professional Engineering . To be acceptable, the curriculum must: (1) be in a school of engineering with at least one curriculum accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) as a professional engineering curriculum; or (2) include differential and integral calculus and courses (more advanced than first-year physics and chemistry) in five of the following seven areas of engineering science or physics: (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 particle and aggregate structure to properties); and (g) any other comparable area of fundamental engineering science or physics, such as optics, heat transfer, soil mechanics, or electronics.

OR

B. Have a combination of education and experience--college-level education, training, and/or technical experience that furnished (1) a thorough knowledge of the physical and mathematical sciences underlying professional engineering, and (2) a good understanding, both theoretical and practical, of the electrical or computer engineering sciences and techniques and their applications to one of the branches of engineering. The adequacy of such background must be demonstrated by one of the following:

Professional registration--Current registration as a professional engineer by any State, the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico.

Written Test- Evidence of having successfully passed the Engineer-in-Training (EIT) examination, or the written test required for professional registration, which is administered by the Boards of Engineering Examiners in the various States, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Specified academic courses--Successful completion of at least 60 semester hours of courses in the physical, mathematical, and engineering sciences and in engineering that included 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.

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 a degree in engineering, provided the applicant has had at least 1 year of professional engineering experience acquired under professional engineering supervision and guidance.

ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: In addition to meeting the BASIC QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS candidates must also:

FOR GS-7 GRADE LEVEL:
A. Meet the Basic Qualification Requirements above and Superior Academic Achievement (S.A.A.) criteria. S.A.A. is based on (1) class standing, (2) grade-point average, or (3) honor society membership.

Class standing--Applicants must be in the upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, such as the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Business Administration, based on completed courses.

Grade-point average (G.P.A.)--Applicants must have a grade-point average of: 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B" or better) as recorded on their official transcript, or as computed based on 4 years of education, or as computed based on courses completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum; or 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B+" or better) based on the average of the required courses completed in the major field or the required courses in the major field completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum.

Grade-point averages are to be rounded to one decimal place. For example, 2.95 will round to 3.0 and 2.94 will round to 2.9. G.P.A. as recorded on the final transcript.

The final transcript must cover the period being used to determine G.P.A., i.e., all 4 years or last 2 years.

Election to membership in a national scholastic honor society--Applicants can be considered eligible based on membership in one of the national scholastic honor societies. These honor societies are listed in the Association of College Honor Societies: Booklet of Information (1992-95) and/or Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (1991).

OR

B. Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-5 level in the Federal service. Specialized experience for this position is defined as experience performing at least one of the following functions: (1) Interpreting and applying basic mechanical engineering and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts, and methodologies related to the study and practice of medicine; (2) Planning and conducting technical research to draft technical papers; or (3) Applying appropriate references and case law to claimed inventions.

OR

C. Have at least one year of graduate level education from an accredited college and/or university in the fields of study as described 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 1 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.

OR

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

FOR GS-9 GRADE LEVEL:
A. Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-7 level in the Federal service. Specialized experience for this position is defined as experience performing at least one of the following functions: (1) Interpreting and applying basic mechanical engineering and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts, and methodologies related to the study and practice of medicine; (2) Planning and conducting technical research to draft technical papers; or (3) Applying appropriate references and case law to claimed inventions.

OR

B. Have at least two years of graduate level education leading to a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree (JD/MML) from an accredited college and/or university in the fields of study as described 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 1 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.

OR

C. Have 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.

Education: Transcript - Official, unofficial college transcripts, or a statement from the institution's registrar, dean, or other appropriate official; or equivalent documentation will be accepted. NOTE: An official transcript or equivalent documentation as listed above will be required two weeks prior to entrance on duty.

Foreign Education: To receive credit for education completed outside the United States, you must provide documentation that demonstrates the education was evaluated and determined to be equivalent to that of an accredited U.S. educational institution.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
Your eligibility for consideration and qualifications for the position will be determined based upon a review of your resume and your responses to job specific self-assessment questions. Your resume will be evaluated based on evidence of your ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) for this position, possession of any specialized experience, and how well your background and experience relates to the following knowledge, skills, and abilitiesin the job announcement:

KSA 1 - Ability to analyze and interpret written materials, including technical materials, rules, regulations, instructions, and reports.

KSA 2 - Ability to establish and maintain effective public relations with diverse user groups.

KSA 3 - Skill in oral communications in order to make clear and convincing oral presentations.

KSA 4 - Skill in written communications to produce written information which may be included in technical material.

Your application will then be evaluated and rated under Category Rating and Selection procedures. Category rating procedures evaluate your total qualifying experience, education, and training, and assigns them into a single, pre-defined quality category. Qualified applicants are assigned to one of two categories following a review of their resume and other supporting documentation. Each category is defined as follows:

Best Qualified - Highly proficient with an a overall comprehensive level of knowledge, skills, and abilities of the job based on a complete review of experience, education, and training as described by the resume and the applicant assessment tool.

Well Qualified - Competent in the position with an a overall accomplished level of knowledge, skills, and abilities of the job based on a complete review of experience, education, and training as described by the resume and the applicant assessment tool.

Veterans Preference : If you are eligible for veterans' preference, please indicate on your resume the type of veterans' preference you are claiming and provide the appropriate supporting documentation. Additional information on supporting documentation may be found in the 'Required Documents' section of this job announcement.

Veterans' preference is applied by listing preference eligibles ahead of non-preference eligibles within the same quality category in which they are placed. Qualified preference eligibles with a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent will be placed at the top of the highest quality category ('Best Qualified'), except when the position being filled is scientific or professional at the GS-9 grade level or higher. A selecting official may make selections from the highest quality category (Best Qualified) provided no preference eligible in that category is passed over to select a non-preference eligible in that category.

For information regarding Veterans' Preference and eligibility requirements, please visit the Vetguide.

For more information on category rating procedures, please visit the Category Rating Factsheet.

Please note that a complete application is required for consideration. (Please review the "Required Documents" section of this vacancy announcement to see what must be included in a complete application).
To preview questions please click here .

BENEFITS:
The United States Patent and Trademark Office offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, paid holidays, life insurance, health benefits, and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System. Alternative Work Schedule(AWS) and Telework Program are available to eligible employees.

Visit USPTO links below for information concerning USPTO New Employee Information: (Please note by clicking on the links below you will be redirected away from this page and to the Website)

USPTO Campus

Reporting to Work

Work/Life Balance

Financial

Employee Assistance

Living in the D.C. Metro Area

Visit the link below to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees.

Working for the Federal Government - Benefits

OTHER INFORMATION:
Applicants applying for this position must be a United States Citizen.

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. Please visit the Selective Service System website for more information

This is a Bargaining Unit position.

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

Background Investigation - If selected for this position, you may be required to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306), which includes a fingerprint and credit check, to determine your suitability for Federal employment and to authorize a background investigation.

The USPTO participates in E-Verify. For more information on E-Verify, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1185221678150.shtm

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

All Federal employees are required to have Federal salary payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of their choice.

Relocation Expenses are not authorized and will not be paid.

Individuals who have special priority selection rights under the Agency Career Transaction Assistance Program (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) will be eligible if it is determined that they have exceeded the minimum qualifications for the position by attaining a minimum rating of 80 out of 100. Information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility is on the Office of Personnel Management's Career Transition Resources website at: http://www.opm.gov/ctap/index.asp. CTAP/ICTAP documentation requirements are listed in the 'Required Documents' section of this announcement.

More than one selection may be made from this announcement if additional identical vacancies in the same title, series, grade, and unit occur within 90 days from the date the certificate was issued.

All application materials become the property of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

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