US Patent and Trademark Office

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US Patent and Trademark Office Interview Questions

Updated Dec 11, 2014
Updated Dec 11, 2014
136 Interview Reviews

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Candidate Interview Reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    US Patent Examiner Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Alexandria, VA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Alexandria, VA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 6 weeksinterviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in May 2014.

    Interview Details

    The initial process of determining whether I would be referred for an interview took approximately 3 weeks. When I received a call to set up an interview the hiring manager used an outdated calendar for scheduling purposes, which led to some initial confusion. There were two managers who conducted the interview and both were friendly and pleasant. I have an extensive background in art education and it seemed as though the managers were uncertain as to why I would want to leave my present career to become a patent design examiner. The first part of the interview requires you to complete a written examination. I do not suggest interviewing via teleconference as the written exam was provided in a PDF format with a time limit of 15 mins. There was not enough time to print and review the 6 page document and it was extremely difficult to complete scrolling back and forth on a computer screen. It was also necessary to draw and circle specific items on the document, which was nearly impossible to complete in a PDF file with the provided time constraints.

    Interview Questions
    • Questions were quite standard, but be prepared with background knowledge of basic patents. The US Patent Office has a helpful video that is accessible online   View Answer
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  2.  

    Design Patent Examiner Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in May 2014.

    Interview Details

    The interview process was exactly how others mentioned it would be, except for how unprofessional and rude the main interviewer would be. I had a phone interview by a "panel" of women; yet, there was one main person who asked all the questions. I was ridiculed for having a southern accent although I was born and raised in Michigan. Every answer I provided was brushed over and almost always answered with a "yeah right" attitude. It just felt like she was going through the motions and had no plan to give me a fair and unbiased interview. I can't even put into words how horrible it was.

    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Easy Interview
  3. 8 people found this helpful  

    Patent Examiner Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    I applied for several positions and was contacted for an interview a couple weeks after the first position I applied for closed on usajobs. My interviewer said that this interview would be for all positions I have applied for. The interview was 25-30 minutes and all of the questions I was asked were already listed here (describe a time you had to present technical info, describe a time you received constructive criticism and how you reacted, describe a time when you had to persuade someone you worked for). The questions were very detailed - for example, for describing presentation of technical info, interviewer asked what my role was, how i conducted research, problems I ran into, how I resolved them, what the outcome was, etc. The interviewer also asked a few questions from my resume about classes and work experience. At the end of the interview, I was able to ask a few questions and the interviewer briefly talked about the patent training academy. The interview was conducted on webex but my computer audio wouldn't work so I had to use my cell phone, which was kind of awkward. The interviewer was very kind and easy to talk to. I was not given a time frame as to when to expect to hear from HR, but the interviewer said "soon"...

    Update: my status switched to "selected" on USA Jobs about 2 weeks after the interview and the next day I got a call offering me the job.

    Interview Questions
    • No unexpected questions, but the amount of detail asked for was unexpected   Answer Question
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Junior Patent Examiner Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    The interviewer did a phone interview and it lasted 30~35 minutes. The questions were pretty standard, but the ones I recall were:
    1. Is there a particular area of technology you'd be interested in?
    2. Describe a technical project for which you had to do extensive research.
    3. Describe a task / project that you had to accomplish with a short turn around time.
    4. If you were given 4 projects, all with the same importance and same deadlines, how would you prioritize these projects so that all 4 a completed on time?
    5. Describe a situation in which you received constructive criticism about work you have done.

    Interview Questions
    • The questions were not difficult, all of them pretty standard. The interviewer mentioned that he is required to ask all applicants a set of standard questions.   View Answer
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Average Interview
  6.  

    Patent Examiner Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4+ monthsinterviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in April 2014.

    Interview Details

    I applied for the job openning on December 2013 and received an interview schedule for mid April 2014. The interview was done on through video webcam on WebEx and the interview was informal. Most of the questions were basic behavioral questions that other people outlined in this website. The interview lasted approximately 45min.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    Patent Examiner Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 6+ weeksinterviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office.

    Interview Details

    As a former examiner, one should know that you will receive a whole different set of questions than what has been posted here. Questions such as: why did you leave the office, why do you want to return, what would you do differently for a search, etc. Having worked there a long time ago, there would obviously be a lot of things I'd do differently (like use a computer instead of searching through shoes of paper patents!), and this question seemed to be repeated in a lot of different ways. The interviewer was very polite, read from his prepared list of questions, and tapped my answers on his keyboard the whole time.

    Interview Questions
    • Name an instance when your supervisor commented on your office action and how you handled it. Depending on how long ago you worked there, you might really need to search your brain for an answer!   Answer Question
    Reasons for Declining

    I was told I would receive an offer, but I cannot move back to the DC area for 6 months or more - the amount of time it might take for me to reach GS12 level and be considered for the hotelling program. I understand that some retraining would be necessary, but hoping that someday the PTO will not require the extended in-house initial stay for former examiners. It was a great place to work, I only left due to spouse's relocation - good luck to all!

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    Patent Examiner (Mechanical Engineering) Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Interview Details

    Applied for the position, got interview date, now trying to have some interview questions and answer

    No Offer
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Patent Examiner Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office.

    Interview Details

    I received an e-mail from the hiring contact first, then another with the time to set up phone interview. Almost all the questions were behavioral based questions. I had looked up all the questions and had them answered and ready to go. This position was for a chemistry examiner. I didn't hear back from them for weeks and when I called them they told me they were putting this position on hold and they weren't sure if they were going to hire anybody. I finally received a message weeks after that that I was not hired.

    Interview Questions
    • All the questions were similar to the ones that I saw on this and other websites.   Answer Question
    No Offer
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Patent Examiner Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online – interviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office.

    Interview Details

    I applied online at USAJOBS and received periodic updates through email up to the interview. The interview was by phone and most of the other posts covered the details thoroughly. Very relaxed and comfortable. I am currently in the waiting process.

    Have specific examples ready for the interview questions! Don't answer them with hypotheticals. I suggest you review all the questions posted on glassdoor and be familiar with the material on your resume. The questions I received were:

    - Describe a situation/project where you had to prepare a technical paper/presentation.
    - When was the last time you had an assignment that had to get completed quickly? How did you organize/manage your time?
    - Give an example of a time when you had to make a persuasive argument, how did you accomplish it and what was the outcome?
    - Give an example of when you received constructive criticism, and how you handled it.
    - If you have more than one task, how do you get them done?
    - What software/databases have you used to conduct patent/literature searches?
    - Expect to answer questions regarding gaps in work/study, assuming you have one.

    I didn't get any questions on the USPTO itself but I suggest you go over the link they provided to be familiar with what USPTO does, what a patent is, etc.

    Remember that while the interview questions are behavioral questions, you should also try to demonstrate your technical competency if possible through your examples. They'll want to know which department is best for you. On a related note, do some research into the USPTO departments before the interview so that you can tell them what departments you'd be most adept in.

    EDIT: I was not selected. I hope you had better luck than I did.

    Interview Questions
    • N/A since everything was provided here. I suggest reviewing questions here that you would be uncomfortable with.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview
  11.  

    Patent Examiner Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Alexandria, VA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Alexandria, VA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at US Patent and Trademark Office in March 2014.

    Interview Details

    See the other posts to get an idea of the behavioral questions asked. This was for a biomedical examiner position. I prepared an eight-page document over the course of a few days with possible questions and answers and practiced them the night before. I was able to answer most of the questions as rehearsed. Interviewer was casual and nice. I asked a lot of questions myself. I ended the interview weakly, though, which made me paranoid.

    Few weeks after the interview, I got two emails saying I did not make the GS-7 or GS-9 opening. USAjobs profile was updated as well. Very sad to see those as I was very excited for the opportunity and was thinking of making it a career (I have a JD).

    Interview Questions
    • How would you finish a job that was due tomorrow and give an example.   Answer Question
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Easy Interview

See What US Patent and Trademark Office Employees Are Saying

2 people found this helpful

 Current Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

Pros: “The salary, ability to telework full-time, flexible schedule” Full Review

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