Director of the Office of Patent Quality Assurance

Alexandria, Virginia
Jul 14, 2019
Jul 16, 2019
Full Time


The USPTO is a fully user fee-funded organization with an annual budget in excess of $3 billion and approximately 13,000 employees comprised largely of engineers, scientists, and attorneys. The USPTO, a progressive organization at the forefront of intellectual property issues around the world, is seeking a high performing professional to join its Senior Executive Team as Director of the Office of Patent Quality Assurance.

Learn more about this agency


The Director of the Office of Patent Quality Assurance (OPQA) provides strategic vision, guidance, and direction to ensure that OPQA provides the monitoring, assessment, and recommendations necessary to instill confidence in patent examination work products among internal and external stakeholders. The Director makes managerial and technical decisions required for successful program development, administration, and management. The Director of OPQA performs the following duties:
  • Supervises Supervisory Review Quality Assurance Specialists (SRQAS) who oversee review quality assurance specialists (RQAS) in their performance of work product reviews and provide staff assistance on special projects or studies as may be assigned by the Director of OPQA, the Associate Commissioner for Patent Quality (ACPQ), Deputy Commissioner for Patent Quality (DCPQ), the Commissioner for Patents, and other business units
  • Collaborates with statisticians and program analyst staff who administer surveys, conduct analyses, and generate reports on quality-related items
  • Oversees work product review error resolution process and represents OPQA position in discussions of errors with Technology Center Directors
  • Leads ad-hoc teams and studies assembled to explore quality-related impacts of USPTO policies and programs
  • Assists in the development and recommendation of data-driven quality initiatives, including training, to be applied to patent examining corps
  • Coordinates and recommends enhancements/updates to data collection tools such as IT systems, review forms and surveys
  • Identifies and secures resources necessary to fulfill quality assurance activities and monitors services conducted by non-OPQA entities (contractors)
  • Coordinates and oversees OPQA resources being used by Technology Centers for purposes of meeting TC-specific quality initiatives
  • Assists the public with patent examination quality questions
  • Assists in efforts to harmonize patent quality metrics and other international matters
  • Oversees technical support staff quality review program
  • Provides briefings to ACPQ, DCPQ, Commissioner for Patents, and the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO on current examination quality metrics
  • Provides briefings to internal/external stakeholders and foreign patent offices on topics related to quality measurement, quality management systems, and quality assurance techniques
  • Stays abreast of changes to patent rules and policy changes and recommends modifications in measurement/tracking protocols to properly evaluate quality impacts of any such changes in policy or rules
  • Represents the USPTO and explains USPTO quality policies and procedures in letters, phone calls, lectures and other contacts with members of the public and the patent bar

Supervisory status

Promotion Potential


Conditions of Employment

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen or National.
  • Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (

You will be required to submit a Financial Disclosure Report (SF-278) upon appointment.


Experience must have been at a sufficiently high level of difficulty to clearly show that the candidate possesses the required professional and 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.

Applicants must clearly demonstrate in their application materials that they possess managerial attributes in the Professional/Technical Qualifications (PTQs). Each response should include a brief summary of the applicant's experience in relation to the specific PTQ and specific examples of accomplishments. Applicants must also clearly demonstrate in their application materials that they possess managerial attributes in the five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs). Each response should include a brief summary of the applicant's experience in relation to the specific ECQ and specific examples of accomplishments.

The Professional Technical Qualifications (PTQs) for this position are:
  • Experience in directing, supervising, and evaluating the activities of a professional and technical organization unit. This includes the ability to: develop and achieve organizational goals, prepare and execute organizational budgets, delegate assignments, motivate subordinate groups and individuals, and establish and maintain a positive working environment.
  • Knowledge of management principles, theories, and practices as applied to a professional organization. This includes knowledge of effective resource acquisition and utilization principles, production measurements concepts, and motivational techniques.
  • Knowledge of public administration principles and their relationship to the development and implementation of agency programs and national policies. This includes the ability to: achieve policy goals; establish and execute programs to implement policies; effectively interact with the patent community; and make informative presentations to the public, including foreign dignitaries.
  • Knowledge of the legal principles and technical subject matter associated with US patent prosecution processes. This includes the ability to: understand technical subject matter, apply relevant patent law legal principles involved in patent prosecution proceedings, and effectively work with other areas of the Office to resolve complex practice and procedure issues.

  • For the following five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs), you are required to submit a narrative response addressing your specific knowledge, skills, and abilities that demonstrate your possession of these qualifications. Be sure to provide specific examples of what you've done that demonstrates your possession of each ECQ. For more information about the Executive Core Qualifications please visit this site: Guide to SES Executive Core Qualifications

    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 a 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.


    You must show successful completion of a full course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, biotechnology, computer science, or other physical sciences, life sciences, or engineering fields.

    Additional information

    Probationary Period: You will be required to serve a one-year probationary period unless you previously completed the probationary period in the SES.

    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 will be subjected to random drug testing procedures.

    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

    All Federal employees are required to have Federal salary payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of their choice.

    Relocation Allowances and Recruitment Incentives may be authorized.

    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).

    How You Will Be Evaluated

    You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

    Applicants must clearly demonstrate in their application materials that they possess managerial attributes in the four Professional/Technical Qualifications (PTQs). Each response should include a brief summary of the applicant's experience in relation to the specific PTQ and specific examples of accomplishments. Applicants must also clearly demonstrate in their application materials that they possess managerial attributes in the five Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs). Each response should include a brief summary of the applicant's experience in relation to the specific ECQ and specific examples of accomplishments.

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance

    Drug test required

    Required Documents

    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. Please Note: Responses to job questions that are not fully supported by the information in your resume may result in adjustments to your rating.

    2) Your narrative responses to the Professional Technical Qualification (PTQs) and Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) questions. Do not write "see attachment" or "see resume". Input narrative responses when prompted.

    Please submit a current SF-50 if you are a Federal Employee. If you are a current or previous Senior Executive Service career member you must submit a copy of your Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) to show proof.
    NOTE: Submit only the documents requested. Additional documents will not be reviewed by the rating panel.

    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.

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