US Patent and Trademark Office

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US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews

Updated February 7, 2015
Updated February 7, 2015
56 Reviews
4.0
56 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Teresa Stanek Rea
56 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • it's good, great flexibility, work from home, freedom to sign own work (in 27 reviews)

  • Flexible work schedule and workload (in 19 reviews)


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

  • Challenging production requirements (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

56 Employee Reviews Back to all Reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great!

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

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

    Pros

    Very flexible hours. The pay is competitive, although the cost of living in the area is high.

    Cons

    Some SPEs or senior level people can be hard to work with. Much of your success as a new examiner is based on the willingness of the people you report to to help you.

  2.  

    Good work experience as an extern

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Intern - Patent Examiner Extern in Alexandria, VA
    Current Intern - Patent Examiner Extern in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    Good training, immediate work after training alongside a current patent examiner. Easy access to many restaurants, transit, employee gym, farmers market on site, and cafeteria on site.

    Cons

    The more you move up as an examiner, the more work you are expected to output AKA you are expected to review more patent applications per pay period. Some people may like this, some may view it as too stressful.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    The best part of USPTO is job flexibility; the ability to telework at least two days per week.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Human Resources Specialist in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Human Resources Specialist in Alexandria, VA

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

    Pros

    Work-life balance, job security, training opportunities

    Cons

    Senior Leadership is lacking in the qualities and/or values that one would consider best in class.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Walk the talk.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5.  

    I have enjoy working for the US Patent & Trademark Office

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

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    What I like about working at the US Patent and Trademark Office is the flexibility that the job offers.

    Cons

    What I dis-like about working at the US Patent and Trademark Office is that there is not much employee interaction.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I believe that management has good job fulfilling the needs of the Patent Examiner's

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    USPTO Patent Experience Extern Program (SUMMER)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office

    Pros

    - Training for 2 weeks on statutes and Patent Law
    - Training in different databases as well as hardware used at the USPTO
    - Create office actions (work actually done by patent examiners)
    - Friendly and Supportive Supervisor

    Cons

    - Unpaid
    - Need to work at least 32 hrs per week
    - Externs responsibilities vary tremendously depending on art unit

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - Less hrs per week
    - Standardize the externship

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    PTO Service Desk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Contractor - Technical Writer in Alexandria, VA
    Current Contractor - Technical Writer in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office as a contractor (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    This environment is fast paced and collaborative. There are opportunities for advancement within the contract. The opportunities to learn and grow come with that advancement. If you make the effort, it will be recognized in some fashion.

    Cons

    The fast paced environment can lead to higher stress levels. Things are always in flux and changing/evolving. If you like structure and stability, this is not the right environment for you.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recognize the stress factors for employees. Realize that when something is pointed out, whether it is a normal part of their "Job Description" or not, there is a reason.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  8.  

    Great place to work

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office

    Pros

    Full time work from home anywhere in the country, flexible work schedule, great benefits

    Cons

    Isolating work, can be boring

  9.  

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time

    Pros

    Flexible schedule, non-competitive promotion system (promotions based on meeting production quotas for a given period of time), military reserve friendly policies, potential for hoteling/teleworking

    Cons

    Some stress in meeting production quotas every biweek, relative ease or difficulty of job affected greatly by your SPE (supervisory patent examiner) and how he/she reviews your work

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try to develop a way to incorporate quality of actions/work into the production quota so that production is not the end all be all metric. Some minor adjustments to other time policy for some types of actions.

  10. 3 people found this helpful  

    Flexibility makes up for the slog

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Former Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    1. Incredible flexibility: work from home, telework, flex time, comp time, plenty of annual leave, and paid sick leave. After you are trained you work independently for the most part, and this lets you keep your own schedule and hours (within reason).

    2. Agency: you make many of the decisions in your cases. You are the one who knows more about it than anyone else, you manage your own docket, you make your own choices on how to examine a given application, and ultimately you are responsible for what happens. Your supervisor will weigh in on the consequential decisions, but as time goes on you are given more authority up to the point where your work is no longer reviewed. Truly a Patent Office of One.

    3. Solid foundation for a career in patent law. Many examiners use work at the patent office as a training ground to go into private practice, either quitting to go to law school full time or going to one of the many excellent evening programs in the DC area. Law firms appreciate the deep knowledge of substantive patent law that examiners walk out with. That said, being a patent examiner has diminishing returns in terms of staying for years and years. Most who leave for law school or law firms do so in their first 5 years.

    Cons

    1. It can be a slog. You have to do a set amount of work ("counts") every two weeks, so over time this can become pretty draining. Each week, open up your docket, calculate a way to your weekly production requirement, do the work. Repeat.

    2. Bureaucracy: the PTO is a big place, and it can be easy to get lost. Your supervisor might work remotely most of the time, or spend his time on other projects, so it can be difficult to get feedback or useful advice. Most of the work processes are set in stone; even management can't change them at this point. Some feel like hamsters running in a wheel of production.

    3. Loneliness: you work by yourself the overwhelmingly majority of the time. The only required interaction is with your supervisor, and after the first year or two even that becomes sporadic. If you don't go out of your way to make friends and socialize with coworkers, you can easily end up not interacting with anyone at all.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Primary Patent Examiner

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

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good work life balance, good salary and benefits. These benefits can be worth even more if you work in less expensive areas of the country. Once you are a primary examiner you manage your work-flow yourself. The production requirements are achievable and bonuses are given for exceeding those requirements.

    Cons

    Patent Examining can be a very dry subject and tedious at times. You may get switched to examine patents that aren't in your focus area. If you work at home it can be very lonely. Even if you work at the Office you may not talk to many people.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More opportunities for advancement for Primary Examiners. Make senior examiner positions easier to get. Many people apply for SPE positions for increased salary not because they want to be a SPE. Giving an outlet for such as senior patent examiner will also improve the SPE candidates you get. Speed up appeals at the PTAB. It can take over 2 years to get an appeal back from the PTAB this limits feedback to Examiners on whether rejections are being formulated correct or not.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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