Come work for the USPTO, we have been ranked as one of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government ®!
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been serving the economic interests of America for more than 200 years. The USPTO is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. For more information about the USPTO, please visit the USPTO Careers Website .
This position is located in the Office of Enrollment and Discipline in the Office of General Counsel. The Office is responsible for advising the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office on matters relating to the enrollment of persons to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office in patent cases, and to the investigation and prosecution of unethical conduct by attorneys and agents recognized to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office; reviewing the technical and scientific qualifications of candidates seeking registration to practice in patent matters before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, as well as administering and overseeing the Law School Clinic Certification Program, Patent Pro Bono Program, and outreach efforts.
The incumbent is responsible for discipline and enrollment functions, including the following:
Screening registration applications of candidates seeking recognition to practice before the USPTO to determine if the candidate possesses the required scientific and technical training qualifications.
Investigating the moral character and reputation of candidates seeking recognition to practice before the USPTO.
Preparing a nationwide examination of the candidate’s proficiency in patent law and USPTO office regulations, policies, and procedures to be registered as a patent attorney or agent.
Investigating, preparing, and presenting evidence of unethical conduct by registered attorneys and agents in the full range of highly technical and highly controversial disciplinary cases involving scientific, engineering, ethical, and legal considerations.
Eliciting and evaluating evidence and testimony; and preparing letters, requests for information, formal complaints, and other documentation.
Interviewing complainants, practitioners, and others having knowledge relevant to an investigation or disciplinary proceeding.
Occasional travel - 10% or less
Job family (Series)
1222 Patent Attorney
Conditions of Employment
You must be a U.S. Citizen or National.
You must meet the definition of professional and specialized experience.
Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (www.sss.gov)
Confidential Financial Disclosure filing is required for this positon.
You must be a current member of the Bar in Good Standing of any state, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or any U.S. territory.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has not issued qualification standards for Attorney positions. However, the agency sets minimum qualifications for Attorney positions and sets forth these qualification for each vacancy announcement. You must meet all eligibility and qualifications requirements by the closing date of the job announcement.
To be eligible for this position, you must:
Meet the following education requirements: possess a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree or Master of Laws (LL.M) degree from an American Bar Association accredited law school.
Suitable for Federal employment.
You must possess a degree in one of the scientific/engineering disciplines.
In addition to the eligibility requirement listed above, you must have:
For the GS 14: three (3) years post J.D. of the professional legal experience and one (1) year of specialized qualifying experience listed below.
For the GS 15 : four (4) years post J.D. of the professional legal experience and one (1) year of specialized qualifying experience listed below.
Professional legal experience is experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position to be filled. Legal work is described as extremely complex and difficult and requires a high order of original and creative legal endeavor in balancing conflicting interests; has broad or wide-scope impact on an economy, industry, private or public interests; and may involve directly or indirectly very large sums of money. Work may also involve acting as principal attorney in charge of the preparation and presentation of cases; recommending policies and developing procedures and regulations to implement new or amended legislation; and acting as legal, general or senior counsel to a major firm or organization.
Successful passing of the examination for registration to practice in patent matters before the United States Patent and Trademark Office is preferred, but not required.
Candidates for the GS-14 grade level must have at least 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower GS-13 grade level in the Federal service in the following:
Specialized experience at the GS-14 grade level is defined as substantial post-AIA patent prosecution experience as well as handling complex legal problems, preparing and trying cases, making statutory interpretations, preparing legal documents, reviewing documents for legal sufficiency, developing sound legal decisions and recommendations in the field in which little or no legal precedent has been established.
Candidates for the GS-15 grade level must have at least 52 weeks of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower GS-14 grade level in the Federal service in the following:
Specialized experience at the GS-15 grade level is defined as substantial post-AIA patent prosecution experience as well as independently handling complex legal problems, preparing and trying cases, making statutory interpretations, preparing legal documents, reviewing documents for legal sufficiency, developing sound legal decisions and recommendations in the field in which little or no legal precedent has been established.
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
The minimum education requirement for this position is a conferred Juris Doctor (J.D.) or Masters of Laws (LL.M). from an accredited college or university.
For more information on degree requirements click here .
Applicants applying for this position must be a United States Citizen or National.
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 non bargaining unit position.
This is a Public Trust position and has a risk level designation of “high”.
This position requires a Financial OF-450 Disclosure. For more information on 450 filing, please visit: https://www.oge.gov
If selected, you will be required to complete a initial two (2) year trial period.
Telework Eligibility is available as determined by agency policy.
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 the Department of Homeland Security Website .
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 Transition 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. Information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility is on the Office of Personnel Management’s Career Transition Resources website
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.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors. If you believe that you have been discriminated against and would like to file an EEO complaint, you must do so within 45 days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act. Claims of employment discrimination must be submitted to the attention of the USPTO’s Office of Equal Employment Opportunity & Diversity via email ( email@example.com ) or phone (571-272-8292).
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
Your eligibility for consideration and qualifications for the position will be determined based upon a review of your detailed resume.
Please Note: Writing samples may be requested prior to being interviewed.
Your resume and any other supporting documentation will be evaluated by a Human Resources Specialist. Falsifying your background, education, and/or experience is cause for not hiring you.
Please note that a complete application is required for consideration. (Please review the “Required Documents” section of this job announcement to see what must be included in a complete application).
To preview questions please click here .
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
A complete application consists of:
1. A resume or any other written format you choose to describe your job-related qualifications; optional cover letter: Your resume should indicate your citizenship and should list your educational and work experience including job titles, salary, employment dates, duties and accomplishments, experience and how it relates to the KSAs in the job announcement.
Please Note: Responses to job questions that are not fully supported by the information in your resume may result in adjustments to your rating. Any experience claimed in a cover letter should be substantiated by information contained in your resume. A Human Resources representative will validate the qualifications of those candidates eligible to be referred to the hiring official.
2. Transcripts : You MUST submit copies of your law school transcripts for verification of the education requirements. Unofficial copies are acceptable, however, if selected you will be required to furnish official transcripts. It is your responsibility to provide adequate proof that you meet the above educational requirements. Inadequate or illegible information could result in non-qualification and loss of consideration.
3. Bar Membership Documentation: You MUST submit documentation showing that you are an active member of the Bar in Good Standing of any State, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or any Territorial Court under the U.S. Constitution. Examples of acceptable bar documentation may include one of the following: 1) Copy of Bar Card; 2) Screen shot of state of licensure with your name identified; 3) Copy of Certificate of Good Standing. If you are unable to obtain this information by the closing date of this announcement, you must contact the HR Specialist listed on this announcement to make other arrangements prior to the closing date of the announcement.
PLEASE NOTE: Applicants who meet the minimum eligibility and qualification requirements for this position may be contacted within 7 business days of the closing date of this announcement to submit follow-up supporting documentation if applicable. Applicants claiming veterans’ preference entitlement who fail to submit supplemental documentation within 5 business days of receiving the request will not lose consideration for this position, however they will not be entitled to special or priority consideration.
Supporting documents that may be requested of applicants after the closing date of this announcement are:
1. Writing Samples - You MAY be asked to submit two writing samples, at the close of this announcement.
2. Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) - For current and/or former Federal employees, your status eligibility and highest permanent grade/step/salary held in the Federal service will be validated with a copy of your most recent SF-50, "Notification of Personnel Action".
3. Veterans’ Preference Documentation: If you are a veteran with preference eligibility, you will be asked to submit a Member 4 copy of your DD-214. 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 Member 4 copy of each Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD-214. For more information, please visit Special Appointing Authorities for Veterans . For excepted service positions, Veterans' Preference does not apply; however, Veteran's will receive positive consideration.
4. Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) documentation: Applicants will be asked to submit: (1) A copy of your specific RIF notice, written notice of your expected separation or other documentation of priority consideration status; (2) A copy of your latest SF-50 noting current position, grade level, and duty location; (3) A copy of your last performance appraisal; and (4) Any documentation from your agency that shows your current promotion potential.
You can choose ONE of the following methods to submit Supporting Documents:
1) You can upload your documents when you register or update your information on the Department of Commerce application site which you access through the USAJobs site.
2) You can fax your documents to 571-258-4254 using the system generated fax cover sheet.
Your application and all required documentation must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date of this job announcement.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education .
Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.
A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal 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.
Please visit USPTO New Employee Information for additional information.
Visit Working for the Federal Government to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees.
Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement
Federal agencies, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. USPTO job applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should request accommodation(s) from the USPTO at http://www.uspto.gov/accommodation . Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.