US Patent and Trademark Office
3.4 of 5 133 reviews
www.uspto.gov Alexandria, VA 5000+ Employees

US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews in Washington, DC

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3.3 98 reviews

                             

91% Approve of the CEO

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Teresa Stanek Rea

(11 ratings)

60% of employees recommend this company to a friend
16 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    6 people found this helpful  

    Management Courses should be a requirement.

    Patent Examiner (Current Employee)
    Alexandria, VA

    ProsI'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.

    ConsIf 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 Senior ManagementGet 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Not for Me

    Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
    Alexandria, VA

    ProsMost 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.

    ConsTrainers 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 Senior ManagementInsure 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    From a Non-Patent Examiner

    Graphic Designer (Current Employee)
    Alexandria, VA

    ProsA very creative work environment

    ConsIf 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 Senior ManagementWhen 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Know what you are getting into

    Patent Examiner (Current Employee)
    Alexandria, VA

    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 Senior 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

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    3 people found this helpful  

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

    Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
    Alexandria, VA

    ProsIt pays more than you will get from other companies.

    ConsThey 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 Senior ManagementThe people between the upper management and the new employees are not qualified to manage others.

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

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Patent Examiner

    Patent Examiner (Current Employee)
    Alexandria, VA

    ProsGreat Flex Schedule, Pay and Benefits, and Area

    Consslow paced, monotonous paper pushing, bureaucratic

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Great compensation and benefits, but little or no social interaction.

    Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
    Alexandria, VA

    ProsCompensation
    Benefits
    Technology support
    Flexibility
    New office facilities
    Excellent exercise facilities

    ConsNo social interaction
    Mundane work
    No continuing education
    No tuition reimbursement

    Advice to Senior ManagementNeed to provide more time for patent review, reduce quota system

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    2 people found this helpful  

    Management does not know what it is doing, no experience

    Junior Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
    Alexandria, VA

    ProsDecent pay, flexible hours, work from home

    ConsManagers have very little experience, almost no one with real-world engineering experience, management doesn't trust employees

    Advice to Senior ManagementRespect junior examiners' decisions when they want to allow a patent application. Don't keep forcing us to come up with more and more references as the applicants add more claim limitations. Appoint managers from outside the patent office (e.g., patent attorneys) to get more balance into the system.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Agree- White collar sweatshop

    Patent Examiner (Current Employee)
    Alexandria, VA

    ProsThe pay is good and your schedule is very flexible. You just come in, do your work, and get the heck out.

    ConsThe job is very boring and extremely tedious. It really depends on your manager and what art your stuck reviewing. Very difficult to transfer to another art. No professional development. Skills developed at the USPTO are not directly transferable to any other job. A trained monkey could perform this job.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    IT Area Needs Work

    Info Tech Specialist (Current Employee)
    Alexandria, VA

    ProsFlexible work hours. 1-day telecommute. Good benefits. Good salaries. Don't have to be too senior to get your own office.

    ConsIronically, IT group is very behind on technology and lacks vision. Consultants do most technical work, not employees. Depending on the office and manager, can even be tough for employee interested in doing tech work to stay technical. Lots of poor management practices among first-line managers.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEnsure that IT employees maintain technical skills and a much larger percentage do actual IT work, not just contract oversight. Identify attributes of good management and ensure that manager performance ratings are judged based on them. Hire IT people at more junior levels to ensure that younger people with fresher ideas are brought into agency.

    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 Washington, DC — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for US Patent and Trademark Office CEO Teresa Stanek Rea. All 16 reviews posted anonymously by US Patent and Trademark Office employees.