US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews

Updated January 18, 2015
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5.0
29 Reviews
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Teresa Stanek Rea
9 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (3)

    Rated as one of the best places to work in the federal government.

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

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (more than 10 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I am a primary examiner and have been working at the US PTO for over 12 years.
    The common comments I see are "stressful job", "monotonous", "production oriented", etc. Well, one has to realize that this is a job that requires a lot of reading and comprehending, as well as analytical skills. The material can be drab. Often times patent applications are translations from foreign languages. A significant number of references are in foreign languages and the translations available are machine translations with their own limitations. New and novel ideas are scarce. Most applications have subject that has small, incremental changes from the state of the art. The examiner's challenge is to determine the minute difference from the state of the art that makes an application patentable. An examiner has to work through all these difficulties. Therefore, this is not a job for everyone. It requires a special kind of skill to succeed as a patent examiner.
    To me, this is my dream job. I love it. I would recommend it to anyone, who has the attitude and the inclination to do this type of work.
    The pay is good. The benefits are excellent. Flexible work schedule. Allowed to work from anywhere in the country, where a good broadband internet service is allowable. Great and continued work related training as well as financial and retirement training and various other social and developmental help. Job security.
    This is also one of the most independent jobs one could find. Other than occasional quality audits, the primary examiner is independent in his/her work. No supervising. No approvals.
    Job promotions and other activities are available without any discrimination.
    I joined the PTO after several years of industrial experience, and I found the job to be a welcome change.
    Irrespective of the position one held, one has to start at a lower level and then get trained on the job. However, please do not consider this as a deterrent. I took more than 50% pay cut when I joined as a Junior examiner but in a few of years, I started getting comparable or better salaries than what I had in the industry.
    I say, if you are up to this challenge, then join the PTO.

    Cons

    This job is not for everyone. In requires patience, good ability to read and comprehend, and analytical skills. It is a desk job. Most work is online. Irrespective of what experience and qualifications, one gets only a lower level position and must get rigorous training before one becomes a primary. But then, that is why a primary examiner is paid a good salary and all that great benefits.

  2. Helpful (3)

    Largely positive experience

    • 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 10 years)

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

    Pros

    - As a primary patent examiner you enjoy near-complete autonomy
    - Exceedingly high quality of life
    - Many career development oppurtunities
    - Great telework oppurtunities
    - On site gym, daycare
    - Tax-deferred Parking Payment Plan
    - Potential for great bonuses

    Cons

    - Over the long term the job is monotonous
    - Lack of quality in English language ability of new-hires is concerning, especially if you are tasked with mentoring one of these individuals
    - Autonomy/telework also brings less interaction with colleagues

    Advice to Management

    Consider requiring new hires to pass a writing test evidencing there English language writing abilities.

  3. My Job

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

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office as a contractor

    Pros

    Leadership, Training,People, Commute, Office, Peers

    Cons

    No benefits, No perks, No personal time off , No sick leave

    Advice to Management

    benefits

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  5. Helpful (2)

    Junior patent examiner

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great patent academy training from experienced trainers.The training includes lectures about patent laws, and the tools used in modern patent examination. The examiner position has lots of room for career and financial advancement, i.e. becoming primary examiner. Most coworkers are helpful and they are not your competitors. Flexible schedule is a definite pro.

    Cons

    Relatively low starting salary without IP experience. Production system can get stressful. Unfortunately, plenty of bad supervisors are out there and they can make or break careers.

    Advice to Management

    Encourage continuation and expansion of telework programs. Weed out bad supervisors, and replace them with competent individuals who can get the job done.

  6. Helpful (1)

    great!

    • 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 full-time (more than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    love the place, most ppl are very helpfull.

    Cons

    can become very repetitive, burnt out.

    Advice to Management

    na

  7. Helpful (1)

    Perfect job for Me

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Washington, DC

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

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

    Pros

    Telecommuting, flexible hours, independent work flow, noncompetitive promotions, paid overtime, casual dress code

    Cons

    Max base salary for federal employee is capped at $157000

  8. Helpful (1)

    Friendly, Helpful, Best Legal Experience So Far

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Friendly Atmosphere, Non-competitive legal atmosphere, Mentoring, Federal Government Employee, Telecommuting

    Cons

    There really weren't any cons

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Rewarded for merit

    • 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)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The collegiality, pay, flexibility, respect for hard work and intelligence, and community of scientists and engineers is fantastic. I know of no other organization where scientific and engineering employees are at every level of management, and firmly in charge of the organization. Being in a union has benefits with respect to clearly understanding your job requirements. You have a very clear understanding of what is required of you, and what your rewards will be.

    Cons

    Mentally taxing work. Difficult to engage meaningfully with work where you are not a creative contributor, but a judge and legal examiner. There is a lack of tangibility in your work product.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management is doing a great job adjusting incentives to focus the examining corps on mission objectives. The work-life balance is phenomenal. Unrivaled anywhere.

  10. Helpful (2)

    Best place to work

    • 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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexibility, salary, no micro-managing, trainings, growth potentials, benefits...

    Cons

    production can be a bit stressful

  11. Helpful (2)

    Excellent for the duration I was there.

    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)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Flexible hours for the duration I was there; good work environment; safe and secure.

    Cons

    compensation as per GS scale and qualifications

    Advice to Management

    Integrate external qualifications and experience into GS policies

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