US Patent and Trademark Office
3.4 of 5 125 reviews
www.uspto.gov Alexandria, VA 5000+ Employees

US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews in Virginia

Updated Jan 13, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.3 92 reviews

                             

89% Approve of the CEO

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Teresa Stanek Rea

(9 ratings)

59% of employees recommend this company to a friend
13 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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2 people found this helpful  

"The Rejection Office"

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for less than a year

ProsFlexible work schedule and workload.

ConsEvery examiner will find out quickly that the unofficial Golden Rule at USPTO is "Whatever your SPE says" [that's what you're gonna have to do, regardless]. SPE = supervisory patent examiner ("the boss of your life", at work). Every examiner is pressured to reject, reject, reject patent applications, for any reason and any pretext.

Advice to Senior ManagementOverhaul the whole system and the Agency culture of rejection and obstruction. The Rotten Thing is not in Denmark.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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4 people found this helpful  

You will either hate or love this job.

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for more than a year

ProsYou have a ton of flexibility. Just make your counts and you can work as little or as much as you want. The environment's super casual and you can wear whatever you want (I saw plenty of sweatpants). While I was there, they offered law school tuition reimbursement (but that may have not survived the sequester). They also have special government pay, so you get a higher starting salary in addition the government benefits. Eventually, you can work remotely from wherever you want (provided you're willing to travel to the office at your own expense periodically).

ConsDon't be fooled by all the rosy recruiting materials. There's a huge reason there's 50% turnover in the job. It's not for everyone. I was miserable. You're a paper pusher essentially and spend all day doing pretty monotonous solo work. Your performance is based on quotas (and the mechanical areas in particular are pretty notorious for volume, volume, volume) and your manager will look at little else when evaluating your performance. Additionally, your ability to meet quota depends entirely on the permissiveness of your SPE/primary manager (i.e., your manager) when signing cases. Some will sign anything and some will send cases back for multiple revisions, making it hard to meet quota.

If you want to do "hands-on" engineering work, this really isn't it. You'll need the educational background to understand what you're examining, but you won't really do any design work or anything that requires engineering judgement. I'd say the work is more legal in nature.

If you can handle the specific work environment, it's really not a bad gig. But just go into it with your eyes open.

Advice to Senior ManagementMore time for cases.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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4 people found this helpful  

It is not that rosy as the videos and the survey indicates

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for more than a year

Prosprovides good training and resources for searching and reviewing prior art.

Consno team work and monotonous and tedious clerical work. crazy or mentally ill examiners who do not want to talk to you. spes are the top dogs and control your life. They need to whipped.

Advice to Senior Managementtry to make it like a place to work and not like a slavery or serfdom

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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2 people found this helpful  

Not bad unless you get sick

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for more than 3 years

ProsBest pay rate in the US government. Good telework options after a couple years of service.

ConsProduction is everything. As long as you send enough out, quality doesn't seem to matter. If you start getting behind they will make your life rough.

Advice to Senior ManagementUnderstand that things happen that are out of the employee's control. Life happens and sometimes it has a negative effect on work, but remember you've invested a lot in an employee through the training and the years of service. The knowledge is not so easy to replace. Neither is an overachiever.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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4 people found this helpful  

Unrealistic quotas and isolating work

Patent Examiner (Current Employee)
Alexandria, VA

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

ProsThe job has flexible hours where you need to account for 80 hours every 2 weeks. The job has government benefits, including a 401k-like account (TSP). You can telework from anywhere in the continental US. And depending on your drive, current economics, and Congressional budgets, there is Law school reimbursment.

ConsThe job is very solitary for some. The production quotas where created in 1976, when some modern technologies where in their infancy. The job duties are more legal than scientific or technical.

Advice to Senior ManagementMake the job more of a team effort.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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1 person found this helpful  

Contractor beware

Computer (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office as a contractor for more than a year

ProsYou are allowed to sit inside and sometimes chair is not broken You have long table to share in a dark room. You are allowed to have lunch and use restroom as long as it doesn't interfere with your duties & meetings.

ConsNo work-life balance. Employees are people, but we are slaves and have no free desires. NOT working mother friendly. Meeting often schedule from 5:30-6:30 pm at last minute. Not urgent too. Very angry if contractors taking off day to have sick child. Must bring own pens, notepads, and anything else to work; these pencil are for 'employee" not "contractor". You don't deserve.

 Many fail project should tell you something.- atmosphere is great nervousness and disconent. People leave for other jobs very fast, or they forced out. If you come here, little chance to succeed. Mostly to be mis-treated. Not a good place.

Advice to Senior ManagementTreat contractor like human being. Not so angry all time too.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Work Experince

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for more than a year

Prospotential to grow quickly both level wise and financially

Consa total sweatshop!!! Involuntary overtime is a must to survive the year of probation - a year of hell

Advice to Senior ManagementHire people and keep them.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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6 people found this helpful  

Revolving door, terrible workplace

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office

ProsGood salary and benefits. Flexible work hours.

ConsThis place is ran horribly and they know it. I was a patent examiner in which I had to write reports, and performance was measured by a count system. However, reports had to be approved by what seemed to be 19 levels of management. So everything you submit would get reviewed and sent back for changes, if two managers disagreed on a topic the report would never get approved and you would never get it counted. Management would also sit on reports for weeks so you would submit tons of reports but nothing would ever get done, so you would never make your weekly counts. No one knew what the rules were, everyone had a different answer for everything and often answers would collide. You are always told to ask a manager if you need help or have questions, but managers were always busy or would send you to someone else to ask who would be too busy to help. Nothing ever gets done! And then you get blamed for nothing being done so you can never advance, and they have a reason to fire you. Therefore, this place was just a revolving door. They lure you in with a high salary, which isn't all the high when you see the cost of living in the Alexandria, VA/DC area. Plus don't sign the bonus! They offered me 20k sign on bonus, and in the first year I got 5k, but then they have 100 BS excuses to take that money back (like finders fee for the person that hired you, and HR bonuses, and exercise room fees, all of which get taken out of any bonus you sign), and then tax you on the total so you only get $100 on your paycheck, but if you quit before a year you have to pay back the entire 5k. They do this specifically because they want to lure you in and then keep threatening to fire you just so they can make you pay them money!

Advice to Senior ManagementSort your company out. Don't expect managers to manage their people and also be examiners because they will have no free time to help new employees like they are expected to. Try and streamline the examination process, having each report reviewed by tons of different people means no work gets done, or it gets done terribly. Get rid of the count system, its a useless tool that only leads to poor quality reports, and reasons for you to fire good employees.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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3 people found this helpful  

The magic word is it depends on your supervisor #1 reason people quit

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office

ProsIf you have a good supervisor this is the best job in the world. The magic word is if,,, 60/40 ratio of bad supervisors...However the good supervisors are worth there weight in gold. You cannot imagine how enjoyable this job is when you have a real supervisor who actually trys to help you. They are easily known at USPTO because many people come to see them and other examiners tell there closest friends.

ConsThis job is supervisor dependent, cant tell you how many good people I know who quit because of incompetent and bad supervisors. If you have a bad supervisor, there is very little you can do. The Union is a joke they can do absolutely nothing for you. Senior management is not interested in fixing this problem so best thing to do is do your best and if you have a bad supervisor try as hard as you can to transfer. In the past they allowed this and what happened was that the good supervisors were flooded with people while the problem supervisors were low on people, so transfering was stopped and discouraged. Ask yourself why do between 35-50 people quit every month a good high paying job?

Advice to Senior ManagementListen as to why people are leaving. Provide a way to get away from bad supervisors. Provide an advocate for examiners to resolve these delicate issues. The examiners love Kappos but are not sure he is getting the whole picture. Lower management is a problem.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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3 people found this helpful  

If you want to work in Management, do not work for PTO

Paralegal (Current Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office

ProsThe Patent Office offers a variety of flexible work schedules, including being able to work from home. This only applies to employees and not management.

ConsSupervisors are treated like garbage - cannot work from home
Supervisors do not get bonuses
Supervisors not protected by any unions
Supervisors not properly trained on Personnel policies and procedures

Advice to Senior ManagementIf PTO wants to retain bright and competent supervisors, then they must allow their first-line supervisors to work from home. It is an outrage when you have incompetent and untrustworthy employees who can work from home, but loyal and trustworthy supervisors are treated like garbage.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at US Patent and Trademark Office reviews and ratings in Virginia — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for US Patent and Trademark Office CEO Teresa Stanek Rea. All 13 reviews posted anonymously by US Patent and Trademark Office employees.