Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Patent Examiner (Chemistry)

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Virginia

About the position

The USPTO is the federal agency that grants patents, registers trademarks, and advises the Administration, through the Secretary of Commerce, on IP policy. The USPTO is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia. We maintain regional offices in Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; San Jose, California; and Alexandria, Virginia (located within the USPTO headquarters). The agency employs approximately 13,000 professionals across its headquarters, regional offices, and through our robust telework program that draws talent from across the nation.

Do you aspire to use your science background to serve on the cutting edge of innovation? Now you can, by being the first to examine new inventions to determine and grant patents as a Patent Examiner at America's Innovation Agency! As a U.S. patent examiner, you will use your background to review applications to determine whether patents can be granted for inventions.

Join us for virtual webinars and fireside chats to learn why you should work with us as a patent examiner. By attending any of these events, you will learn more about the agency, the patent examiner position, and why employees love to work at the USPTO. Register and learn more here:


As a patent examiner, you will spend your time:

  • Searching prior art using specialized technology systems to ensure that an invention is new and unique. Prior art is information that has been disclosed to the public about an invention before a given date including related patents, published articles and public demonstrations.
  • Reviewing patent applications for potentially new inventions and innovations to ensure they meet the agency's requirements.
  • Writing legal office actions on patentability and respond to patent applications.

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.

Apply for this vacancy

What you'll need to apply

Apply on USAJOBS by the first cut-off date on 1/21/2024:

Contact name

USPTO Office of Human Resources

Contact email


You must have either successfully completed (1) Degree: biological sciences, agriculture, natural resources management, chemistry, or related disciplines appropriate to the positions; OR (2) Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major, as shown in (1), plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Specialized experience is defined as experience performing at least one of the following functions:

  • Interpreting and applying advanced biological sciences and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts, and methodologies related to the application of life processes and transitions, problems of living matter as they related to human issues; preserving and repairing the natural environment; and/or research and development, regulatory activities, testing and analysis of laboratory samples
  • Planning and conducting technical research to draft technical papers
  • Applying appropriate references and case law to claimed inventions.

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

Applications will only be accepted from United States Citizens and Nationals and your resume and question responses must demonstrate the job-related competencies. If selected, you will be required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.

The duties of the position will depend on the level of the role, and the level a selectee is selected for will depend on a vary of factors, including education and experience.

The full list of duties, qualifications, and conditions of employment can be found on the USAJOBS posting:

Additional Information

We value our diverse, inclusive, and collaborative team members at the USPTO. We know the talents of each colleague enrich our vibrant workplace. The United States government does not discriminate in employment 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 factor.