PTO drops telework pilot for patent examiners over spat with union

The Patent and Trademark Office's telecommuting efforts have hit a snag.

The agency last month ended its telecommuting pilot for senior patent examiners following a dispute with the Patent Office Professional Association.

About 315 members of the labor union participated in the program; PTO is continuing a separate telecommuting program for 118 trademark analysts.

The pilot foundered because PTO and the patent examiners union failed to agree on new rules for conduct and performance of the telecommuting patent examiners.

'Frankly, the union has been stubborn' about the standards for ad-mittance to the program and whether the program is permanent, a PTO spokesman said.

Union president Ronald J. Stern said PTO presented last-minute changes to its pilot agreement with the union that required negotiation.

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