Director of the Office of Petitions

Alexandria, Virginia
Sep 18, 2019
Sep 24, 2019
Executive, Director
Full Time


The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is seeking a high performing professional to join its Senior Executive Team and serve as the Director for the Office of Petitions (OPET). This position is located in the Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy, and requires extensive knowledge of patent examination process and procedures, patent laws and regulations, and the ability to interact with diverse audiences.

Learn more about this agency


The Director of OPET provides strategic vision, guidance, and direction to ensure that OPET treatment of petition decisions by petition attorneys, examiners, and paralegals conforms to USPTO policy and reflects an accurate and timely analysis of all issues under consideration. In addition, the Director of OPET oversee the Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) that provides stakeholders with a resource to answer inquiries related to patent examining rules, policy, procedures and fees. The Director of OPET performs the following duties:
  • Prepares/approves USPTO petition decisions, including decisions that represent final agency action, according to current law, policies, practices and precedents in a clear accurate manner for signature by the OPET Director or the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy.
  • Gathers and analyzes statistical data related to filing, processing times and the granting of petitions in a manner that is transparent to within the USPTO and to stakeholders.
  • Provides legal, policy and procedure guidance to the Commissioner for Patents and Deputy Commissioners for Patents.
  • Supervises petitions attorneys, petitions examiners, petitions paralegals, and technical support and contract personnel, and oversees their performance and quality of work product and timely processing of incoming petitions as well as e­petitions.
  • Interfaces with the contracting officer's technical representative (COTR) that oversees administrative functions required to support IAC personnel.
  • Provides staff guidance on patent examination policies, procedures and current rules to ensure that reliable and sound decisions are made.
  • Stays abreast of changes to patent rules and policy changes and recommends modifications in protocols to properly evaluate and address impacts to the petition process and procedures.
  • Ensures that new examination rules and regulations are interpreted properly and that proper mechanisms are in place to address impacts to petitions decision making, procedures, processes and processing times.
  • Represents the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy in drafting of documents, reporting, stakeholder meetings, conferences and other events.
  • Supervises and manages the IAC staff and ensures that staff is trained on new rules and regulations and that inquiries are answered in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Responsible for tracking and monitoring IAC inquiries to identify trends and to relay analysis with recommendation(s) to appropriate party.
  • Identifies and secures resources necessary to fulfill OPET activities.
  • Identify areas of continuous improvement and initiate projects/initiatives to improve effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Reviews and address resources, such as staffing, IT tools to ensure OPET mission is achieved.
  • Represents the USPTO and explains US patent law and Office policies and procedures in letters, phone calls, lectures and other contacts with members of the public and the patent bar.

Travel Required

Not required

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.
  • Financial Disclosure Report (OGE-278) will be required upon appointment.
  • Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (

To qualify, the applicant's resume and answers to questions must demonstrate their technical and leadership experience/expertise as they relate to the duties described.


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. Maximum length of 10000 characters when addressing the PTQs and ECQs.

Professional Technical Qualifications: Applicants must clearly demonstrate in their application materials that they possess technical attributes in the Professional/Technical Qualifications (PTQs). The PTQs for this position are:
  • Experience in directing, supervising, and evaluating the activities of a professional, technical and legal 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 legal community; and make informative presentations to the public, including foreign dignitaries.
  • Knowledge of the legal principles and technical subject matter associated with U.S. patent filing and prosecution processes, particularity with respect to patent-related petitions, including petitions relating to patent term adjustment, abandoned applications, expired patents, delayed priority/benefit claims, and filing date issues. 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 USPTO to resolve complex technical and legal issues.

  • Please Note: Current career SES members, former career SES members with reinstatement eligibility, and SES Candidate Development Program graduates who have been certified by OPM, only need to submit a resume and narrative statement covering each of the Professional Technical Qualification (PTQs) requirements and do NOT need to address the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs).

    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:

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

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

    5. 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.


    The individual must have a degree in a course of study from 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. The individual must also have a law degree from an accredited law school. A best qualified candidate would have a comprehensive knowledge of patent rules and regulations, as well as an appreciable breadth of knowledge in scientific and technological 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 expenses and recruitment incentives will not authorized.

    Veteran preference does not apply to the Senior Executive Service.

    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 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.

    Your application will be evaluated by a rating and ranking panel, and highly qualified candidates will be submitted to the Selecting Official for further review and consideration.

    To preview questions please click here .

    Background checks and security clearance

    Security clearance
    Not Required

    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). Do not write "see resume". Input narrative responses when prompted.

    3) Technical and Law school transcripts. 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.

    If you are a Federal Employee, please submit a current Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) that shows your position title, series, and grade level. If you are a current or previous Senior Executive Service career member you must submit a copy of your 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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