This job has expired

Design Patent Examiner

Alexandria, Virginia
Closing date
Dec 2, 2022

The physical worksite for this position is located in Alexandria, Virginia. However, patent examiners may choose to perform their duties throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

As a U.S. patent examiner, you will use your specialized background to review 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. That means that patent examiners are critical to protecting American innovation!

As a Design Patent Examiner, you will spend your time:
  • Performing work in the examination of applications for United States patents pertaining to the form, appearance, and ornamentation of articles of manufacture.
  • Uses professional knowledge of designs and practices to evaluate the invention claimed in each patent application.
  • Uses a broad knowledge of past and current developments in design to uncover previous inventions, as represented by domestic and foreign patents, supply catalogs, style books, etc., that affect the novelty claimed in the application.
  • Uses well developed visual aptitude, specialized knowledge of patent laws, rules, regulations and procedures to determine whether the application and its claimed invention meet all legal requirements for the granting of design patents.

New patent examiners receive top-notch training during the first months on the job that will give you the tools you need to be successful in your role.

At the GS-7 level, you will perform basic patent examining functions with extensive instructions from the supervisor. You will receive months of valuable training that will help you do your job well. This training will develop the ability to apply technical concepts to the patent examining. Your assignments will pair performance of productive work with supervised on-the-job training.

Almost all of a patent examiner's work is performed using a computer and is visually demanding.

Note: If you are a student who will be graduating soon, you can still apply! Applications will be accepted from students who expect to complete their qualifying education within 9 months from the date of application. The USPTO requires verification of successful completion before your start date.


Conditions of Employment

  • Applicants will only be accepted from United States Citizens and Nationals.
  • Your resume and question responses must demonstrate the job-related competencies.
  • You must meet the definition of specialized experience.
  • Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (
  • If selected, you may be required to complete a one year probationary period.
  • You must meet all qualification requirements upon the closing date of this announcement.


You must meet the United States Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) qualification requirements for the advertised position: Design Patent Examining, 1226, OPM's prescribed Group Coverage Qualification Standards for Professional and Scientific Positions can be found at

You must meet all eligibility and qualifications requirements by the closing date of the job announcement.
BASIC QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: To be considered for this position, you must have either:(A) Degree (BA/BS) in industrial design, product design, architecture, applied arts, graphic design, fine/studio arts or art teacher education OR courses equivalent to a major in one of the above disciplines; -OR-(B) a combination of related courses totaling at least at least 20 semester hours in industrial design, product design, architecture, applied arts, graphic design, fine/studio arts, or art teacher education, plus appropriate experience or additional education; -OR- (C) four years of experience in the field of industrial design, product design, architecture, applied arts, graphic design, fine/studio arts, or art teacher education that demonstrated knowledge of the fundamental principles of the field involved in the position to be filled equivalent to that which would have been obtained through successful completion of a full 4-year degree. All academic degrees and course work must be from accredited or pre-accredited institutions.


For the GS-07: In addition to the basic education requirement as stated above, applicants must meet one of the following to qualify:
A) Superior Academic Achievement (SAA). This can be defined by one of the following:

1) Class standing-Upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision based on completed courses.

2) Grade point average (GPA) as recorded on the final transcript-

i) 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B" or better) as recorded on the 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

ii) 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. The GPA is rounded to one decimal place. (2.95 = 3.0 and 2.94 = 2.9). The final transcript must cover the period being used to determine the GPA.

3) Honor Society membership--Election to membership in a national scholastic honor society. Click here for a list of qualified honor societies.

B) Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-5 grade level in the Federal service in art involving areas such as industrial design, product design, architecture, applied arts, graphic design, fine/studio arts, and art teacher education.


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. If the number of credit hours representing one year of full-time study cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will be considered an academic year of graduate study.


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 "B" and "C" above.

For documentation requirements, see REQUIRED DOCUMENTS.

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.


If this position requires proof of higher education, or you are substituting education for experience, you must submit an unofficial transcript or a list of courses that includes the following information: name of accredited institution, grades earned, completion dates, and quarter and semester hours earned. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the requirements. Please refer to for more information. You are not required to submit official documents at this time; copies are sufficient.

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) website. 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.

Additional information

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 and represented by Patent Office Professional Association (POPA)

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 the Department of Homeland Security Website .

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.

CTAP and ICTAP candidates will be eligible for selection priority if it is determined that they have exceeded the minimum qualifications for the position by attaining at least a "well qualified" rating of 85 out of 100. Information about CTAP and ICTAP eligibility is on the Office of Personnel Management's Career Transition Resources website at: OPM CTAP/ICTAP .

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.

USPTO Job Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should request accommodation(s) from the USPTO at .

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 ( ) or phone (571-272-8292).

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