Opportunities For Scientists The number of biotechnology patent applications filed in the United States has grown about 10 percent per year since 1990, reaching 15,600 for fiscal 1995. In contrast, the total number of patent applications has risen only about 2 percent annually. As the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) scrambles to find qualified examiners to analyze and rule on the patentability of these biotech inventions, scientists in genetics, immunology, molecular biology, and related fields are finding a lucrative niche.

CLEARER GUIDELINES: Tom DesRosier notes the "utility" rejections are less common since USPTO commissioner met with industry representatives in 1994.
USPTO, headquartered in Arlington, Va., has hired a growing number of scientists as patent examiners in Group 1800, the unit that handles biotechnology patent applications. Since last fall, USPTO has employed 50 scientists in examiner positions, according to John Doll, director of Group 1800. He hopes to hire another...

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