US Patent and Trademark Office

www.uspto.gov

US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated January 28, 2015
Updated January 28, 2015
183 Reviews
3.6
183 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Teresa Stanek Rea
27 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

41 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    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
  2.  

    Good work experience as an extern

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

    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
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    PTO Service Desk

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Writer in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - 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
  6. 2 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
  7. 4 people found this helpful  

    Veteran Intern Patent Examiner

    • 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 as an intern (less than a year)

    Pros

    USPTO is one of the few Federal agencies I have seen that runs fairly smoothly. Everyone I have encountered there is professional, helpful and personable (in the way that Engineers and Scientist can be), and very relaxed atmosphere. They have a very generous flexible schedule where you can work just about whenever you want as long as you make 80hrs every bi-wk and your numbers are good; when I say work whenever, I mean whenever (4-10hr days no problem; every other Friday off same deal..ect). The Academy they send you through is through and they definitely teach you the way to conduct Patent business. The Veterans program is very robust and right now they are in a hiring spree. Other benefits include onsite gym, a Patent social club and other various forms of perking up the work-life balance. Once you hit GS-12 (which can theoretically take about 1.5-2 yrs) you can work anywhere CONUS and never have to come into the office again.

    Cons

    The work itself. You need to realize that there is absolutely NO engineering work involved. The work is monotonous but it is a steady gig. I would probably not recommend USPTO for those just coming from college as the technical skills picked up in school will be lost. I can understand why those from industry would come to the PTO as it offers a major change of pace to how corporations conduct business. Another Con would be that everyone, due to the nature of the job itself, tends to stay in their offices so there is not a whole lot of social interactions. One final Con is the way the production system is setup. What the work comes down to is the numbers...and that is what you will be graded on constantly. I understand why they do production numbers, but I feel its a double edge sword. The nature of the work is tough and there is a learning curve, so the pressure is to constantly get applications reviewed and adjudicated as fast as possible.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The management, at least whom I have encountered have been nothing but supportive and helpful. Make sure applicants know that there is no engineering work involved.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 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
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Excellent work/life balance

    • 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 full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    telework, non-competitive promotions, quarterly and annual bonuses based on production and docket management, flexible work schedule

    Cons

    not a good environment if you have ambition or are curious and want to work in different subject areas, work experience can be bad if you have a bad/incompetent supervisor

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Either truly open all detail and promotion opportunities up to hotelers' without bias in favor of those on campus or be honest that opportunities for variety will disappear when you become a hoteler. That's one of the main reasons people go home and stay home and never come back. I think this can easily be remedied though by explaining to HR that examiners can in fact read. Their very living depends on it. If they're applying to a detail or position where hoteling or telework is not permitted it's because they've accepted that, made the appropriate arrangements and still applied anyway.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    PEEP Internship Program (Biotechnology 1600)

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

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

    Pros

    The PEEP Internship Program is an excellent opportunity to gain experience as a Patent Examiner and gain experience in patent law. Within the 1600 unit, we were able to meet with current Patent Examiners, SPEs, and former patent attorney in order to understand both ends of the spectrum.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, this internship is unpaid and to get the full benefit of the position you may not be able to work another job in order to earn income.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  11.  

    #1 place to work in the Federal government

    • 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 full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Flexible hours
    Great benefits
    Great training
    Great pay
    Great telework program
    Law school reimbursement program
    Employee assistant program
    Diversity
    Different positions available

    Cons

    Work in isolation most of the time
    Has to meet production requirement
    Deadlines to submit work
    Too much computer use
    Bad manager/mentor can affect your work

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

US Patent and Trademark Office Photos

Work at US Patent and Trademark Office? Share Your Experiences

US Patent and Trademark Office

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.