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Careers with the USPTO

Join the USPTO -- America's Innovation Agency -- and continue your service to protect this country's assets.


The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. Through this agency, new products have been invented, new uses for old ones discovered, and employment opportunities have been created for millions of Americans. The strength and vitality of the U.S. economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity.

USPTO is strongly committed to hiring the nation's veterans and aims to be the employer of choice for veterans. The work that veterans do at the United States Patent and Trademark Office is incredibly important to our nation. Veterans contribute to the agency's mission that provides a system of protection to safeguard American ingenuity through new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. Veterans who work at the USPTO have an average length of service of 12 years and get promoted into leadership positions.

The USPTO consistently ranks as one of the best places to work in the federal government and we are currently seeking Patent Examiners to join our Alexandria, VA headquarters team!

Patent Examiner Brochure
Patent Examiner Infographic

Patent Examiners review applications to determine whether a patent can be granted for new, cutting edge inventions. We currently have several openings for Patent Examines, supporting each of the following disciplines:

  • Design (Fine Arts/Graphic Design)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

All current vacancies are based at our Alexandria, Virginia headquarters. Candidates must live near, or be willing to relocate or commute to the DC metro area.

**Due to COVID-19, the USPTO is operating in a state of maximum telework and most employees are teleworking full-time. Consequently, you will start your work in a temporary telework status and your training will occur in a virtual environment. Accordingly, you will commence work under a temporary telework arrangement that will remain in effect until the Agency informs you that you are no longer subject to its Situational (Ad Hoc) Telework Program. When the time comes, for example, if your original work location is established as the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA, you may be asked to report to campus. The USPTO will provide as much advance notice as possible in the event of this directive and will work with you to allow you a reasonable timeframe to transition.

Patent Examiner


As a patent examiner, your efforts give inventors exclusive rights over their discoveries. A patent examiner (PE) reviews applications to determine whether patents can be granted for inventions. Patents give inventors the right to exclude others from making or selling their inventions for a limited time. As a U.S. patent examiner, you will handle these basic patent examining functions:

  • Search prior art to ensure that an invention is new and unique. Prior art is information that has been disclosed to the public about an invention before a given date - including any related patents, published articles and public demonstrations.
  • Review patent applications to ensure conformity to formal requirements.
  • Write legal office actions on patentability and respond to patent applicants

GS-7: Perform basic patent examining functions with extensive instructions from the supervisor. Training will develop the ability to apply technical concepts to the patent examining process. Assignments combine performance of productive work with supervised on-the-job training.

GS-9: Independently perform basic patent examining functions with some supervision. Assignments are of average difficulty and require the application of technical concepts to the patent examining process. May perform advanced patent examining functions with supervision (e.g., the evaluation of special claim constructions, the requirement of restrictions, the recognition and development of probable interferences, etc.). These advanced activities are supported by close review.

Almost all of a Patent Examiner's work is performed using a computer and is visually very demanding.


To be considered for this position, you must have either: (A) successfully completed a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in Engineering; OR (B) a combination of qualifying education and experience.

Special Instructions for Foreign Education: Qualifying education from colleges and universities in foreign countries must be evaluated in terms of equivalency to that acquired in U.S. colleges and universities. Applicants educated in whole or in part in foreign countries must submit sufficient evidence, including transcripts, to an accredited private organization for an equivalency evaluation of course work and degree. A listing of these accredited organizations can be found on the Department of Education's website - US Department of Education. Another listing of services that can perform this evaluation is available at the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). You must provide a copy of the letter containing the results of the equivalency evaluation with a course by course listing along with your application. Failure to provide such documentation when requested will result in lost consideration.

NOTE: Only education and experience acquired before the filing deadline will be considered. Report only attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.


Veterans' Preference Documentation: If you are a veteran with preference eligibility, you will be asked to submit a copy of your DD-214 containing your discharge disposition, dates of service, and rank. If you are a preference eligible claiming a service-connected disability of 10 percent or more, you will be asked to submit documentation (i.e. a letter dated 1991 or later from the Department of Veterans Affairs or from a branch of the Armed Forces) certifying to the veteran's present receipt of compensation. Veterans must include dates of military service within the automated application process, and submit a copy of each Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD-214. For more information, please visit Special Appointing Authorities for Veterans.

Are You a Veteran Interested in a Career with USPTO?

Please complete the form below to be considered.

*Please note: A degree in these disciplines is not required for the Design Patent Examiner role

*To be considered for the Patent Examiner role you must be able to provide a copy of your academic transcripts and DD-214.

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