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Deputy Commissioner for Patents (Legal)

Alexandria, Virginia
Closing date
Nov 26, 2023

As Deputy Commissioner for Patents (Legal), you will collaborate with the Commissioner for Patents and the rest of a talented, diverse executive leadership team at our beautiful Alexandria, Virginia, headquarters. You will be at the exciting forefront of the patents life cycle and develop strategies in support of the USPTO's mission to unleash American innovation.

This career is ideal if:
  • You are an accountable results-driven legal professional.
  • You have a strong ability to formulate policy for all offices under the Commissioner for Patents and manage matters relating to patent petitions, creation and implementation of patent laws, rules and procedures, patent examining quality assurance, and updating the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP).
  • You are confident in your knowledge of patent law and policy to advise the Commissioner for Patents and the other Deputy Commissioners of Patents (DCPs) and to answer resolve questions regarding the interpretation of the patent statutes, regulations, and case law.
  • You can promote consistent patent petition decisions that align with internal policies the ever-evolving case law in the federal courts.
  • You're a thoughtful, inclusive, and creative leader who can inspire action in others.
  • You have a proven track record of commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.
  • You're an effective collaborator and coalition-builder who communicates with a broad range of internal and external stakeholders to implement programs and processes and facilitate change.
Once hired, you will have the potential to make a significant impact on patent internal and external stakeholders. As a Deputy Commissioner for Patents here are some of the exciting duties you'll engage in:
  • Providing strategic vision, guidance, and direction to patent programs and initiatives to ensure that the necessary monitoring, assessment, and training required to instill confidence in the patent system.
  • Providing oversight and leadership to promote vision-oriented initiatives and empower individuals and teams to accomplish goals and defined objectives.
  • Providing the Commissioner for Patents with the necessary management support of day-to-day operations and meeting the ongoing needs of the USPTO by fostering a culture of collaboration and problem-solving.
  • Ensuring training is provided to patent professionals and technical support staff in patent practice and procedures, use of automated systems, and budget and performance planning.
  • Representing the Commissioner for Patents and in contacts with members of the public, officials of other Government agencies, Department of Commerce and USPTO employees, members of Congress, and foreign government officials.
  • Ensuring administrative policies and procedures are effectively communicated throughout the organization.
  • Collaborating with other Deputy Commissioners for Patents to ensure patent operational goals are met; identify recurring challenges across discipline lines and analyze trends; ascertain the needs of the agency in serving its customers and establish measures and programs addressing goals, challenges, trends and needs consistent with the policies of the USPTO.


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen or a National.
  • Background and/or Security investigation, if selected for position.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (
  • Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-278) will be required upon appointment.


Experience must have been at a sufficiently high level of difficulty to clearly show that the candidate possesses the required professional/technical qualifications and executive core qualifications set forth below.

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.

Please provide your narrative responses to the Professional Technical Qualification (PTQs) and the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) questions in the text boxes as prompted by USAJobs. Do not write "see resume". When responding, you must clearly show that you possess the experience and competencies to perform the duties of this position. Each PTQ and ECQ has a 10,000-character limit (to include spaces) that must be adhered to. Uploaded documents addressing the PTQs and ECQs will not be accepted.

Professional Technical Qualifications (PTQs):
  • Experience in directing, supervising, and evaluating the activities of a professional and technical organization unit.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of experience with patent statutes, regulations, and court decisions.
  • Demonstrated ability to advise senior level executives on and to recommend thoughtful solutions for complex legal issues.
  • Demonstrated ability to work closely with the USPTO user community, trade associations, and/or bar associations.

  • EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS (ECQ): You must submit a narrative statement covering each of the ECQs listed below unless you: 1) are a current or former SES career appointee or 2) have successfully completed an SES Candidate Development Program approved by OPM and been certified by OPM.

    When responding be sure to provide specific examples of what you have done that demonstrates your possession of each ECQ and the appropriate competencies. For more information please visit this site: materials/guidetosesquals_2012.pdf

    Leading Change - This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

    Leading People - This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization's vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.

    Results Driven - This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this ECQ is the ability to make decisions that produce high quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems and calculating risks.

    Business Acumen - This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial and information resources strategically.

    Building Coalitions - This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.

    Applicants are encouraged to follow the Challenge, Context, Action and Result (C-C-A-R) model outlined in the Guide To SES Qualifications.
      Challenge - Describe a specific problem or goal. Context - Describe the individuals and groups you worked with, and/or the environment in which you worked, to address a particular challenge (e.g., clients, co-workers, members of Congress, shrinking budget, low morale). Action - Discuss the specific actions you took to address a challenge. Result - Give specific examples of measures/outcomes that had some impact on the organization. These accomplishments demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of your leadership skills.

    Note: Uploaded documents addressing the PTQ's and ECQs will not be accepted.


    The incumbent must have at least a bachelor's degree in an engineering, scientific or technical field. The incumbent must have a law degree from an accredited law school program and must be a member of a bar in good standing, in the United States or a Territory of the United States

    Additional information

    Mobility: Organizational and geographical mobility is essential in developing and managing SES leaders and generally is a key to advancement. Therefore, applicants are expected to be mobile and once appointed SES members may be reassigned at the discretion of the appointing authority.

    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" risk.

    The incumbent may be required to submit to a drug test to screen for illegal drug use prior to appointment and, if appointed, the incumbent may be subjected to random drug testing procedures.

    The USPTO participates in E-Verify. For more information on E-Verify, please visit

    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.

    Veteran preference does not apply to the Senior Executive Service.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.

    The Ethics in Government Act of 1978, as amended, requires senior officials in the executive, legislative and judicial branches to file public reports of their finances as well as other interests outside the Government. If selected for this position you will be required to file a Financial Disclosure Report (OGE Form 278). The OGE 278 is available to the public. The primary purpose of disclosure is to assist agencies in identifying potential conflicts of interest between a filer's official duties and the filer's private financial interests and affiliations.

    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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