Cardinal Intellectual Property
2.3 of 5 14 reviews
www.cardinal-ip.com Evanston, IL 150 to 499 Employees

Cardinal Intellectual Property Reviews

Updated Jun 11, 2014

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2.3 14 reviews

                             

100% Approve of the CEO

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Frank Nicholas

(2 ratings)

23% of employees recommend this company to a friend
14 Employee Reviews
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    Overall Satisfied

    Docket Manager (Current Employee)

    ProsWorking from home. Decent pay and benefits.

    ConsUnbalanced workload. Could use some work in holding employees responsible for their actions and lack of work.

    Advice to Senior ManagementAlways appreciate your hard workers. That is very important to an employee. There is nothing worse than working so hard for someone and not getting anything in return for it.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Several years of a solid income stream.

    SAO (Former Employee)
    Evanston, IL

    ProsFlexible hours, days, potential for making a good income.

    ConsStarting out there is a steep learning curve, so you must be able to go without an income for awhile. Sometimes difficult to satisfy reviewer, and there's time pressure. If you thrive on pressure, this job is right up your ally. If you ask my wife for a review it would read something like this: "never available to go anywhere or do anything because of the time crunch. SINGLE people who like to work independently would have a better go at this type of work. Everything else outside of the work gets set aside, including a marriage". Work is frustrating if you are a perfectionist, because you don't get paid for your time. Also...if you are a workaholic, you'll be very happy because there are NO paid vacations and you can work 24/7 if you want. Keep track of all your work including hours spent a day, how much you made and for what job.

    Advice to Senior ManagementImprove communication for your employees. Coordinate your reviewers to use a common set of standards. If you promise a bonus, be sure and deliver on that promise.

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

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    A fine place to work if you're desperate

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsYou can work remotely under most circumstances, and qualify for medical benefits if you meet certain hour requirements

    ConsThe pay is abysmal, the HR management is underhanded and piratical, and most of the employees are too inexperienced to dress themselves in the morning.

    Advice to Senior ManagementPlease hire someone with a clue.

    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  

    Appearances can be deceiving: search assignments are underpaid for the time, effort, and experience you bring.

    Searcher (Former Employee)
    Evanston, IL

    ProsBest reason: opportunity to be involved with patents, on a time schedule of your choosing. But, and this is a huge qualifier, your so-called independence as an independent contractor is a bunch of smoke-and-mirrors BECAUSE you have to check in multiple times during daytime hours on the company virtual private network even if your personal style is to primarily work afternoon and evening hours (and this is logged by the company), and you are expected to check for communications on the weekend. i.e. DON'T FORGET TO CHECK IN BY 9:00am!!! P.S. Contractors are supposed to be in control of their own time, not be directed by the employer.

    ConsThe enticement and false promise of being able to race through a pile of PCT searches for a solid 90-100k paycheck is quickly killed when you learn that many more hours are required for the mind-numbing completion of endless PCT forms, which do not cross-check themselves for completeness and accuracy, leading to 2 or more days to complete a single search project, and then handle the follow up objections by the SAO and mystery backroom people (let's say, 20-24 hours). Calculated on an hourly basis, fast food restaurant work paid on an hourly basis (let's say a generous $12/hr) is a fair comparison. No kidding. It gets worse: time frame to complete a search and report includes weekends, so god forbid you have an assignment that overlaps or bridges over a weekend. No benefits, no paid time off, no paid vacations or holidays, no bonuses. No opportunity for advancement, unless you are from India. A mind-numbing, underpaid experience.

    Advice to Senior Management1: Pay a legitimate piecemeal wage. 2: Treat each "contractor" like a valued member of the team, not a piece of meat. 3: Review points 1 and 2 a few times. 4. Replace the prima donnas running the day-to-day management "team". You know who you are.

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

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    Only go here if you have no other options

    Searcher (Former Employee)
    Denver, CO

    ProsWorking from home, getting reimbursed for parking if you work at their office.

    ConsThis company takes advantage of the unfortunate economy by paying fast-food wages for professional-level work. You are paid a set fee of $300 for a PCT search and written opinion of a PCT patent application. You have to do an exceptional job (a thorough, documented search history, mapping every element of the claims to the prior art, filling out the 210, 220 and 237 forms EXACTLY right), and doing all this right takes at least 12-20 hours per search. In fact, I think Cardinal produces the best work of any ISO.

    However, this comes at the detriment of Cardinal’s employees. If you work 60+ hours/week, you might begin to take home $60K/year, and that’s after you’ve negotiated the learning curve. The learning curve is steep for those who haven’t searched before and who don’t have knowledge of patent law, but a few months of doing it full-time and you will have learned most all there is to learn.

    Most people I knew who worked there full-time were able to complete 2-3 PCT searches a week. Part of the problem is that your searches are subject to summary dismissal by a “Search Approving Official,” so if the SAO finds what he deems to be an error in your search history or doesn’t quite like your primary X reference, they can send the search back to you for hours more of searching/analysis. It takes an hour or two simply to change the citations in a set of patent claims. The whole time I worked there I saw one person make decent money ($100K+) as a searcher and that was because he approved searches as well and was able to cherry-pick the easiest ones for himself. Oh, and I was told that for political reasons we are never allowed to say a claim is novel and unobvious. You might get an application that is the most novel, non-obvious invention in 50 years, and will be told you have to string together 4 references in a Bizarro-land rejection that makes no sense … and again, takes hours to write.

    You might be able to get in on their private client searches, which pay $40/hour, but these are also set fee searches. Theoretically, you’re paid $40/hour, which sounds nice until you realize that it isn’t. The equivalent of the search approving official is the “project manager,” whose primary focus is on keeping law firms happy with the searches. So often, you will search many more hours than the “allotted” time because the project manager is unhappy with the results. I will say that private client searches are better than PCT searches.

    And forget about any benefits or any chance of promotion.
    Promotions: Nobody gets promoted because there’s nowhere to get promoted to unless the owner thinks you can make him more money in a different role. The same search approving officials that were there when I started were the same ones as when I left. The skills you gain working here will not help you unless you can get an interview at the PTO.

    Benefits: Zero paid holidays or vacations of any kind. Health insurance is the stingiest and most expensive you can imagine and the Evanston office is a poisonous environment of backstabbing, gossip and vituperative talk. The office environment is terrible.

    Here’s another takeaway point. They might change the structure every now and again with some minimum base pay, or by appointing a new “HR” person, but the same people are still running the place. Their core mission is to squeeze all they can from people desperate for a job. Anybody who gets a chance to leave gets out as fast as they can. There is zero loyalty there, and the people who stay are the ones with no other options, or those with very few social skills.

    One further point. You might be asking how a contractor with the US government could get away with paying fast-food wages for doing patent examining work. Take a look at the Cardinal contract on the PTO website and also take a look at the McNamara-O’hara Service Contract Act (SCA). The SCA requires government contractors to pay service employees in various classes no less than the wage rates and fringe benefits found prevailing in the locality. So ask yourself what PTO examiners get paid and what are their benefits? I guarantee you benefits and wages are way better in every respect at the PTO. Just look at the GS charts and benefits. Then compare those to what a Cardinal searcher makes.

    Advice to Senior ManagementNone

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

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    A nice change of pace

    Patent Analyst (Current Employee)

    ProsThere is no other position out there that allows you the flexibility you can find working at Cardinal. The ability to earn what you want and work as you want is second to none.

    It takes a unique set of skills to find success as a Patent Analyst. Understanding why you are performing your work in addition to knowing how to do the work is imperative. If you can find such skills in yourself, then you will find success as a patent analyst.

    The work is generally on a per project basis, and often pay is determined on an hourly basis. Analysts who show they have an exceptional understanding in both the technical arts and the patent laws are the ones who most often shine.

    Cardinal boasts an extremely collegial environment that, for the most part, has a generally upbeat workforce ready to tackle challenges thrown their way. Being part of a team that is able to conquer such challenges is very rewarding. If you are a patent attorney looking for a position that is fun and exciting, but does not come with the strings attached to most large law firm type jobs, you will like this work. At best, stress is minimal. You do not worry about your work while away from your desk or while sleeping because you enjoy it.

    Cardinal is a great place to work for the right person, and many who have found success here formerly found success in a large law firm, merely walking away for all of the reasons one can associate with a large firm lifestyle. If you do not have the desire to live with the high stress and lifestyle associated with the law firm, you'll love this line of work.

    ConsEvery job has its cons. Anyone can find the negatives in a position if they look deep enough. There are other online reviews citing heavily upon the need to work hard on various projects. If you have to complain about working hard, then you'll never succeed - nothing ever comes easy. If you do not like to put in a solid effort everyday, then do not expect to be compensated for what is inevitably less than stellar work.

    Other analysts begin the day with a negative outlook, perhaps many have a chip on their shoulder. If you are someone who does not use critique of your work in a positive fashion, or use constructive criticism for what its worth, this job is not for you. Success here is found in being a team player, being open to finding a solution even if it is not your personal first choice. Patent analysis requires the application of logical thinking and significant understanding of the patent system and laws of this country, and if you do not have that you may not find success here (or perhaps anywhere that handles any sort of patent related matter).

    Advice to Senior ManagementIf the morale of any single employee is suffering, broader acknowledgement and emphasis of achievements could contribute a boost, but then again what is a paycheck for?

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    Filler, not a career

    Analyst (Current Employee)

    ProsFairly flexible work schedule, analyst positions can work from home, and pay and benefits are decent for a starting or part-time position. Work-from-home positions can work from anywhere in the US, so if a spouse needs to relocate, it's not a problem.

    ConsThis company has a total communication breakdown between upper management and employees, like significant standards and policy changes with little or no explanation or employee input. Management promises to employees are ignored and the policies listed in the employee manual are not followed. There's almost no potential for raises or advancement in the company and no paid vacations or sick days. Per case compensation means no overtime at all, even if you're scheduled for 60-80 hours in a week (and you will be). Management has unrealistic expectations of work quality and quantity. The skills working here provides are useless to patent agents or attorneys. (Not just my opinion. I was told this point-blank by several recruiters, patent attorneys and agents.)

    Advice to Senior ManagementCompanies that endure build on a solid core of satisfied, enthusiastic long-term workers, not high turnover burnouts. Unless this company starts taking steps that show it values all employees, it will not last, no matter how many consultants it hires.

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

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    Good experience with the people but I'm not able to make enough money

    Analyst (Current Employee)

    ProsFlexible working hours, work from home, control your work flow, easy to take time off

    ConsSome weeks I had no work, work level is unpredictable, I am not able to make enough money, working within the Cardinal system is frustrating

    Advice to Senior ManagementDevelop a method to communicate to employees about docket changes that is more accessible.

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

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    Be careful-this is not a good career move

    Patent Analyst (Former Employee)
    Chicago, IL

    ProsMy pay check never bounced. Can work offsite via company VPN.

    ConsVery significant concerns here: Cardinal IP is directed by a strongly autocratic culture (several/majority of the upper management personnel are from India) that many employees find disconcerting, inconsistent, reactive, and occasionally downright rude. Missives sent out by one of those individuals always makes self-reference as "the management" in the third person. Petty, yes, but annoying nonetheless.

    Another significant concern: government contracting work--PCT patent searches--require relentless attention to detail that is not remotely ADEQUATELY compensated in the $300 per application pay, which can take up to several days to earn. Those who do this work struggle to reach the $40,000's, usually less. Let it be known to all outsiders: only those in a supervisory position who receive a review fee for each case they oversee, can expect to see a penny more. A little on-line searching will locate testimonials to this effect. And that requires 2 or more years of service. No benefits, a cranky virtual private network that goes offline during peak work hours, and an expectation of being available to receive non-essential emails even on weekends, rounds out the experience.

    This work is not analytical. It will NOT teach or burnish analytical skills. It will NOT bolster your resume', unless your next move is to a PTO searcher assignment.

    As a final FYI, essentially NONE of the managerial employees with a PTO patent agent or attorney credential are referenced on any issued patents. OK, I found 3 patents co-listing one CIP employee, but those patents were originally authored and filed by someone else. Any outsider can confirm this by running some names from Linked In through the USPTO agent roster. Those who can't practice...search. Cardinal IP is not a place to learn about the patent world. Take heed, nascent patent attorneys.

    Bottom line: ok place to learn some very limited and very specialized search techniques, at sub-market pay rates, but virtually no portability of those skills.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStart treating your employees as professionals, and quality and morale will improve.

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

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    2 people found this helpful  

    I wasn't happy with the pay, but I needed to gain experience.

    Junior Systems Administrator (Former Employee)
    Evanston, IL

    ProsVery knowledgeable IT team. Great people to work with.

    ConsLow Pay. HR director had her own style that no one really liked. Patent attorney's lacked patience some times.

    Advice to Senior ManagementRaise the initial pay so that these reviews get better so that better workers who know their worth will apply to contribute to your team.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at Cardinal Intellectual Property reviews and ratings — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for Cardinal Intellectual Property CEO Frank Nicholas. All 14 reviews posted anonymously by Cardinal Intellectual Property employees.