US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews

Updated July 14, 2015
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Teresa Stanek Rea
3 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

21 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (4)

    The real review of uspto

    • 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
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    There are no pros until you're a SPE OR out for production. It's just a terrible engineering job.

    Cons

    I have worked in industry before and now work for the PTO so I have a good perspective. This job is for people that are not normal and and love minutia beyond what your wildest dreams. I knew it was going to be boring and bad but not this bad. If you get a bad SPE (supervisor) you're screwed. One of my coworkers in my group looks 40 and she's 26! It's scary to see the stress on her face and she agrees that if she could she would leave as soon as possible. She says she's trapped and now she's losing her engineering skills. One note: people here are a little tweaked and I assume it's this job. It's scary. You sit in a small office with another person and scroll though 1000s of patents while quickly reading the patent to find one or two patents you can use to reject a person's application. What a horrible job for a smart, educated engineer. It's very depressing in my mind. When you're a SPE you can show up whenever especially if you're a trainer of the classes or labs in the training academy. We had two trainers and one would stay home and one would show up! No wonder congress is investigating the PTO! This job is not a satisfying job no matter what the SPEs or people off production say to you. They don't have to worry about anything but showing up but that takes like 7 years of frustration to get to. It's not worth it. The benefits are like any big private firm or government agency. Review was cut for whatever reason. Anyway, don't come here. It's not a good engineering job. Don't believe these glowing reviews. They MAY. Have gotten lucky and got good AUs but most will not. It's not doctor job and go home. It's do your work and hope your SUPERVISOR likes you.

    Advice to Management

    Just tell people what they're really getting into before they come here.


  2. Helpful (2)

    Patent Examiner Mechanical

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Very flexible, you know what you got to do to get the next promotion, no random deadlines, and obviously better salary than other GS pay bands...

    Cons

    ...its all about the numbers ... and like they say its case by case basis....the interpretation of the same claim might be different from one primary examiner to other.


  3. Helpful (2)

    It's a job

    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    It pays money and it's not hard. Exposure to patent prosecution issues.

    Cons

    Too much time is spent bothering with things that don't make the patent process better.


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  5. Helpful (3)

    A great job if you can cut corners and not have it bother you

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

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time

    Pros

    Great money (for government). The pay is great. Gym, childcare etc. A lot of perks along with a great salary and advancement opportunities.

    Cons

    Quantity is the number one objective ... but they also do not want "glaring" errors ... so it is a hard balance to strike.

    Advice to Management

    Reform the whole system. The patent attorneys complain all the time about the "quality" of the office actions, bu they cannot say much because they are at the mercy of the USPTO.


  6. Helpful (4)

    A HORRIBLE PLACE FOR IT CONTRACTORS

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

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

    Pros

    If i was a govt employee, i would be giving wonderful praises for the suppose to be number 1 place to work at in the agency. But I am IT contractor employee.

    Cons

    If you are thinking of working here and a IT contractor employee. Listen to my warning. I had different options of jobs to take and i decided to take this job because I saw the number 1 place to work. I was thrilled and excited to be working for this agency. Well, I was told and saw that this does not apply to IT contractors. I was absolutely amazed on how the contractors are treated. And its absolutely an accepted fact. I have been doing govt contracting for over 20 years and this is the first place, where i am shocked on how some of the contractors are yelled at, treated by emails, spoke down to like little kids, and other stuff i see on a daily basis. I do not know how long I will be here but the turnover is awful and the negativity energy is not good. I will stay here until i find something else. The grass is not greener on the other side at all. This is the worse agency for IT contractors and i thought previous agencies i worked for was worse.

    Advice to Management

    Treat everyone with respect and dignity which includes contractors.


  7. Helpful (3)

    It is a white collar sweat shop.

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

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The tech side of it is interesting

    Cons

    all that matters is "count Monday"


  8. Helpful (3)

    Watch Out for The 10th Floor!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - OPEA Team Member in Alexandria, VA
    Former Employee - OPEA Team Member in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Support staff and infrastructure are fantastic. Very helpful, kind and hard working.

    Cons

    Senior Level Management -- on the executive floor in particular. Major Diva-like behavior, favoritism, alcoholism, spineless, smarthy senior "leader" who don't lead anything but the "yes" party.

    Advice to Management

    Actually talk to your staff. People are miserable and you all walk around like everything is rosy. Tell the BUs to stop being so deceitful in cahoots with HR. People are not stupid.


  9. Helpful (4)

    Modern Slavery

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

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

    Pros

    The time flexibility and Salary is great...

    Cons

    You will grow to hate your daily life, because the pressure is just too high. People work there only for the money, however it seem 95% people who works there grow to dislike what they do..

    Advice to Management

    its ok, as long as you have a good SP


  10. Helpful (4)

    "The Rejection Office"

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

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

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule and workload.

    Cons

    Every 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 Management

    Overhaul the whole system and the Agency culture of rejection and obstruction. The Rotten Thing is not in Denmark.


  11. Helpful (8)

    You will either hate or love this job.

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

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

    Pros

    You 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).

    Cons

    Don'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 Management

    More time for cases.



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