US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews

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Teresa Stanek Rea
1 Rating

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

20 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (6)

    Marketed as a less-stressful alternative; insanely stressful

    • 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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good compensation, exposure to new technology, excellent facilities, bulletproof benefits, excellent training program, full-time work-from-home after two years, very flexible scheduling

    Cons

    Terrible work-life balance--you will work a *lot* of unpaid overtime in order to make production, which causes stress. Production requirements are insane. Early arrival and late departure is the norm.

    Advice to Management

    Provide more one-on-one guidance for employees having difficulty making production. Provide more "real life" training rather than breaking down the principles of the patent laws. Work more closely with EAP to help employees having difficulty adjusting to the job.


  2. Helpful (4)

    Benefits good, management & policies questionable

    • 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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The salary, ability to telework full-time, flexible schedule

    Cons

    Supervisors can have no technical knowledge & sign your work & lack communication & "soft skills". Further, as a junior, you report to a primary. As you continually get switched around, it becomes confusing & you get tired of accommodating other peoples' opinions (which they like to sell as "being flexible". It's a backwards system.

    Also it's not a social environment. It's essentially like working for yourself. There is no sense of teamwork or commraderie. The work itself is not bad. But please have an outside life before you come in.


  3. Helpful (1)

    management quality highly variable

    • 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

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible work schedules and work from home options for both examiners and managers as of 2014, production based advancement for examiners, good pay, good benefits, offices instead of cubes.

    Cons

    Managers are hired mainly on achievement as an examiner, which has almost no bearing on how good a manager someone will be. Yes, things are production based, but your direct supervisor reviews all of your work until you are GS13 partial sig, giving them great power over your success or failure as an examiner.
    My advice, do whatever it takes to get to primary examiner as fast as possible, then except for quality review team spot checks no one reviews your work.

    Advice to Management

    Find better ways to identify management potential.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Primary Patent Examiner

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good salary and flexible schedule.

    Cons

    Challenging production requirements. Very isolating.


  6. Helpful (11)

    Management Courses should be a requirement.

    • 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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I'll echo some of the comments others have left that the atmosphere is laid back, great benefits, decent pay, etc. But so is every other federal agency. The all have the same pay and benefits. Patent Office might pay just slightly higher. Work/life balance is second to none because of the hotelling program. Again, it is not unique to the Patent Office.

    Cons

    If you get stuck with a shitty manager, which happens often, good luck to you. You will feel like a helpless little kid. Adults should not be treated that way in a workplace. They are all a bunch of fat, stubborn bureaucrats; typical government agency. Typical manager has absolutely no idea how to communicate. Most are unapproachable. Extremely subjective and very stubborn. Advancement is non-competitive which requires no special skills or education thus reducing the quality of the "Applicant" to senior management. Managers and Directors come from the same stock. No management training, and most never managed a single person throughout their entire careers which could be as long as 20 years before becoming managers. Their presentation skills are worse than those of a high school student. Other than that, job is extremely boring.

    Advice to Management

    Get some management classes. It should be a requirement to go through training or have an MBA. Training that the Patent office "suggests' is not enough. It does not require to do homework, work on projects, presentations, There are no classes on culture and leadership communication. It does not teach how to deal with subordinates. Most Managers have absolutely no clue how to deal with a subordinate.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Not for Me

    • 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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Most of the staff directly involved in the training program were great and eager to help. Contractors brought in to demonstrate the use of various programs were excellent and their training was very structured.

    Cons

    Trainers did not necessarily have any knowledge in your particular subject area, which caused them to lead you astray from time to time. Supervisors and others with signatory authority did not participate enough in the training efforts and, in some cases, were even detrimental by leading the trainee on wild goose chases. Often, different answers were given to the same questions. This is to be expected in gray areas, but not on questions of policy.

    Advice to Management

    Insure your supervisors are required to meet with the trainees at the scheduled times or, if not possible, to establish an alternate time to be noted on the trainees schedule so that no trainee is left without meeting their supervisor during the entire 4 month program. Make it a punishable offense to provide misinformation (such as providing incorrect job search categories when the trainee is not specific in their request - even though their trainer told them they only needed to give the application # with no additional information). This misinformation leads to a waste of time by the trainee, trainer, supervisor, and any others involved. Any inefficiencies ultimately cost the customer as they are reflected in the patent filing costs.


  8. Helpful (3)

    From a Non-Patent Examiner

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    A very creative work environment

    Cons

    If you are in a non-examining position and not in a bargaining unit, good luck. The biggest mistake this private sector agency disguised as government makes is how they hire their leaders. The agency is run by people who have very impressive resumes, but no experience with actually managing groups of people, they are not willing to resolve conflicts, only care about themselves, demonstrate lots of favoritism, and have no idea about how government operates.

    Advice to Management

    When you hire leaders, start paying more attention to their experience with supervising diverse groups of people. Just because someone has a political background and a fancy resume, doesn't make them a leader.


  9. Helpful (4)

    Know what you are getting into

    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

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

    Pros

    -flexible schedule (after training)
    -high earning potential
    -can be easy work if you "get" it

    Cons

    -beginning pay seems like a lot but doesn't go far in DC area
    -no control over art unit (specialty) you are assigned to
    -ruins value of engineering degree, especially for new engineers
    -zero job security, not like other government work
    -training doesn't prepare you for realities of job; expect to get thrown to the wolves and expected to meet production without having all the tools to do so (i.e., allowances)
    -they tout that you can get a promotion after only 6 months, but very few people in our large hiring class made the promotion on-time due to falling short of production requirements
    -have to work in a windowless cell for years before teleworking/promotion opportunities become available
    -don't uproot yourself for this job like I did if you are unfamiliar with patent prosecution

    Advice to Management

    -I understand the pressures you are under to move applications, but the current policies and incentives result in a lot of bad rejections from junior examiners and a lot of bad allowances from senior examiners


  10. Helpful (5)

    It's a government job-don't expect what they say that they will provide.

    • 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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    It pays more than you will get from other companies.

    Cons

    They call it training and probationary period; but what they say or what the new law says, they don't follow it outside of training. Yes, they expect you to break the law. Expect for them to disturb you if they do not like you so that you will fail quizzes and deadlines. Anything and everything done on computers is monitored; and they will slow down your node if they do not like you as well. It does not matter if you are highly educated - it is only about who they like. They are rated as the #5 best place to work in federal government; but even the interim director left after the new law passed. It's an average place at best that pays above the rest.

    Advice to Management

    The people between the upper management and the new employees are not qualified to manage others.


  11. Helpful (1)

    Patent Examiner

    • 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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great Flex Schedule, Pay and Benefits, and Area

    Cons

    slow paced, monotonous paper pushing, bureaucratic



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