USPTO Not Laying Off Employees

Earlier today I was contacted by the Wall Street Journal asking whether I had heard about the United States Patent and Trademark Office laying off employees in such a way that it would create problems for the Office with respect to keeping up with the growing backlog of patent applications.  From what I can tell this rumor was started by Greg Aharonian, and now is trickling down through various sources and major media are starting to look into the situation to see if there is any truth to the rumor.  Thankfully, the Wall Street Journal was engaging in good reporting practices, which seems to be a dying art these days in many popular press circles.  I can report that based on my investigation there is no truth to the rumor that the PTO will be laying off or furloughing employees.

Immediately upon learning of the rumor that the Patent Office would be sending patent examiners packing I started contacting my sources and was told that there is no truth to this rumor whatsoever.  I was reminded that less than two weeks ago John Doll, the Acting Director of the USPTO announced at the deferred examination roundtable that hiring of new examiners would continue into the future, as has been the plan all along. 

I have also been in touch with Jennifer Rankin Bryne, spokeswoman for the the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  She confirmed that there is no truth to this layoff or furlough rumor.  It seems that the number of new examiners that will be hired this year has not been fully determined, but that hiring will continue.  Like many I have thought for a long time that hiring 1,200 new examiners a year was to many to adequately train, so if the Patent Office does hire less but can bring them up to speed quicker, with better training, then that would be a positive thing in my mind.

I will keep my eyes and ears open on this one, but from what I can tell from both direct contacts with the Patent Office and from those in the know who I trust this rumor is simply false.

About the Author

Eugene R. Quinn, Jr.
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
US Patent Attorney (Reg. No. 44,294)

B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Rutgers University
J.D., Franklin Pierce Law Center
L.L.M. in Intellectual Property, Franklin Pierce Law Center
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Gene is a US Patent Attorney, Law Professor and the founder of He teaches patent bar review courses and is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Inventors Association. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, CNN Money and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide


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One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for T]
    February 25, 2009 06:00 pm

    Well….not until applicants get fed up with all the 101 rejections and new filings drop to a trickle….say in a year or so…