Monday, January 29, 2007

WashPost on PTO hiring

Stephen Barr of the Washington Post has an article Patent Backlog Spurs Demand for Examiners which includes text:

The patent office plans to hire 1,200 examiners for each of the next five years. The average starting salary is about $62,000, and electrical engineers and computer engineers may qualify for an $8,800 signing bonus because the PTO has a hard time recruiting in those fields.


PTO also tries to be a family-friendly employer, giving some leeway to examiners on when they start their work each day -- as long as they meet certain productivity goals, based on their experience and the difficulty of their caseload.

"You have to work hard; it's a difficult job, but if you work hard, you can do the job in 40 hours a week," Doll said.

**The Post article did not mention anything about the rate examiners leave the PTO or about how the PTO said they cannot hire their way out of the application backlog.

Just a Patent Examiner mentions the PLUS search:

This is a linguistic search performed by Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC).

A PLUS search analyzes the words that occur in the background and summary of the invention sections of the specification, as well as the frequency at which those words occur, and compares that with the patent specifications in the patent database. Useful? Well, sometimes yes. However, given the fact that 'the applicant can be their own lexicographer', the PLUS search will never be anything approaching comprehensive. Different applicants will invariably use different terminology. (This is one of the reasons why it is so important to take the time to figure out what the claimed invention is. Pull terms from the claims and drop them into EAST? Don't expect to find useful prior art.)

IPBiz notes that, in contrast, there is only ONE way to say Andersonville and ONE way to say Wirz, so the University of Tennessee had a much easier job.


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