US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews

Updated August 23, 2015
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Teresa Stanek Rea
4 Ratings

Pros
  • All the benefits of a federal job with job security and super flexible schedules (you can work from home full time) (in 27 reviews)

  • flexible work schedule allows for family friendly atmosphere, working from home is great (in 19 reviews)

Cons
  • Has to meet production requirement (in 8 reviews)

  • Challenging production requirements (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

36 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    Good if you want the benefits and can tolerate the work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good compensation Objective merit based advancements and rewards Good work schedule flexibility Opportunities for telwork

    Cons

    Monotonous highly procedural work and the work volume is high Work is solitary in nature and tends to be isolating Work experience is highly dependent on supervisor and art unit Considerable turn over prior to the GS-14 level It's not a good match for most people and I would not recommend it as an occupation to any of my friends or acquaintances.


  2. Helpful (4)

    It's not as good as it looks....

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Dress flexibility, few meetings, and job security

    Cons

    Minimum interaction with people, Alexandria, VA is a expensive place to live have to commute, have to wait to long to teleworking if you can reach production level, ridiculous production requirements, working long hours including weekends, tedious work for engineers. Came here from a good company in the private sector because all the good things some people says but it's not what it seems. My best advice to anyone is if you don't have anything to loose you can try it otherwise DON'T leave a good work and be at risk the first year to get fired because didn't meet production requirements people this is not easy for some groups specially when your supervisor is not supportive. The attrition ratio is more that 50% NEVER seen something like this in my life and I'm sure this is unique in the federal government!

    Advice to Management

    Lower production requirements not necessarily because some people do it everyone can do it, this is an error to think this way, change first year training approach more practice than theory, lower teleworking requirements.


  3. Helpful (4)

    Life of a Patent Examiner

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Sterling, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Sterling, VA
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I think the only positive thing about working at the USPTO would be the flexibility in the schedule: you can come to work whenever and leave whenever, as long as you work 80 hours every two weeks (biweek)

    Cons

    whether you will like and succeed in this job is heavily dependent on your supervisor (SPE) or your primary who sign your cases. whatever position you may hold for a case, if the SPE or primary doesn't agree with you, then you have to start all over again and look for prior art using their interpretation. Also you are on a production system, which adds some serious stress to your work/stress due to reason above. Furthermore, due to the flexibility of the schedule, you might be inclined to stay longer hours to learn and do your job->it gets to a point where you can hardly balance your work/life. As a comparison to an engineering company where you can develop expertise in somethings and get good at the job and relax a bit, as an examiner, your life restarts every "count Monday" since you have to worry how your new cases are gonna turn out.

    Advice to Management

    If you want higher quality actions, you have to give more time to examiners and have a office-wide standard for quality and not leave some stuff to TC discretion.


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  5. Helpful (2)

    Luck of the Draw

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time

    Pros

    Flexible scheduling, decent compensation for what you do, the nature of the work doesn't change as you move up the ladder.

    Cons

    As others have said, it's pure luck of the draw as to who trains you as a junior examiner. This can range from someone who is actually knowledgeable and will point you in the right direction, to someone who doesn't know the art (and you wonder how they became a primary), to someone who is mentally unstable and lashes out at you for taking up their "examining time" (even if they have a charge code for mentoring).

    Advice to Management

    If you are going to have a SPE assigned to the same art unit for 10+ years, then it would be a good idea for them to open a book within that timeframe so they can at least become familiar with the art they are supervising.


  6. Helpful (5)

    Patent Examiner

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    They have flexible schedules when you reach the appropriate grade.

    Cons

    It is a killer for someone starting out their career. One loses years of experience in engineering or science. Furthermore, most managers have been at office for their whole career and are not trained to be managers, so in general they are not the best... Plus, the work never stops! There is a work clock that runs 24 hrs a day...


  7. Helpful (4)

    Pros & Cons

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Junior Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Junior Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Amazingly flexible work schedule, great benefits, great pay, the ability to work from home full time in a relatively short amount of time after starting work.

    Cons

    Depending on the luck of the draw and what art unit they send you to, you might have an extremely small chance of making it through your probationary year.

    Advice to Management

    See if any SPEs just can't seem to make new examiner's 'stick'. I've heard some horror stories..


  8. Helpful (3)

    Can be a great job, but can also be a terrible job. It all depends on your supervisor...

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Campus is nice. Benefits are good. Having a flexible schedule is great, as is the potential to work from home full time IF you make it to GS-12...

    Cons

    In the first year as an examiner, the art unit you are placed in and the manager you are assigned to will completely determine how successful you will be and if you will be retained or not. Your ability to do the work and your effort does not matter nearly as much as if you are lucky enough to have a good supervisor. A bad supervisor will make this job miserable and nearly impossible, and there are many, many bad supervisors here. You will most likely be threatened with the possibility of not being retained in order to get you to do more work. It's not an empty threat. The only positive feedback I received my entire first year was from attorneys who told me my office actions were well written. DO NOT be enticed by the "accelerated promotion" they tell you about when you get a job offer. Very few examiners are able to get it as it is extremely difficult to meet production requirements when you first start and are in training. You will most likely have to do a lot of voluntary overtime at first to meet your production requirement. The job can be great if you're lucky enough to be in a good art unit and with a good supervisor, just be aware of the risk before you accept the job!

    Advice to Management

    Supervisors should be required to have law degrees. Management needs to stop using fear as a motivator to get examiners to do more work.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Probationary Year is very challenging - be prepared to work 24/7 to maybe get retained

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    flexible work schedule, easy access to public transportation, campus is lovely

    Cons

    pure luck if you get assigned to a supervisor/primary that is good/bad at helping you. If you have a great supervisor and/or primary, it really doesn't matter if you're assigned to an art that you are unfamiliar with.

    Advice to Management

    give more objective criteria for retainment other than the vague, ambiguous performance reviews.


  10. Helpful (1)

    patent examineer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    pros are work life balance flexsibility

    Cons

    sweat shop, if you dont have help from the inside you will fail

    Advice to Management

    provide help to jr examiner


  11. Helpful (6)

    Patent Examiner

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    The flexible work schedule is great. The Office just brought back the tuition reimbursement program.

    Cons

    The patent office wants high production numbers, high docket management numbers and high quality. Achieving all three is usually not possible. Opportunities to do anything but examining patents does not really exist here.



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