As we know, a patent grants a monopoly for some period. I've been reviewing patent applications. It appears that typically only one patent examiner reads the application. It seems problematic that there is a single, potentially unqualified patent examiner reviewing my application.

My question: How does the patent office assign examiners? How do we know that the patent examiner knows anything about the field that the patent is in? For example, a highly technical field may require very specialized knowledge.

1 Answer 1


They are all required to have at least a B.S in a science or engineering field but are not necessarily assigned to their specific expertise. Much of the subject matter education is on the job.

However, the examining corp is organized into Technology Centers. One of them is 2400 that covers "Computer networking, Multiplex communication, Cryptography/Security, Video distribution, Video recording, and Video Compression". TC's are further broken down into Art Groups of about a dozen people with a specific narrower focus. For a couple of years, an examiner can't sign-off on anything themselves. A Primary examiner needs to look over their work and sign the actual paperwork sent back to the applicant. Each examiner has a supervisor (called a SPE) with whom you can get into an interview with along with your assigned examiner.

I have not found the degree of technical expertise making the difference between an efficient, effective examiner and a not-as-good examiner.

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