US Patent and Trademark Office

  www.uspto.gov
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews

Updated Jul 7, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.4 133 reviews

92% Approve of the CEO

(no image)

Teresa Stanek Rea

(13 ratings)

62% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • it's good, great flexibility, work from home, freedom to sign own work(in 25 reviews)

  • flexible work schedule allows for family friendly atmosphere, working from home is great(in 17 reviews)


Cons
  • A good supervisor makes your life easy, but a micro-managing supervisor can make it more difficult to meet production requirements on time(in 10 reviews)

  • I have used the term "intellectual sweatshop" which gives a vivid idea of the production requirements they expect from you(in 5 reviews)

133 Employee Reviews
Relevance Date Rating
in
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Good experience overall

    Patent Examiner (Former Employee) Alexandria, VA

    ProsThe USPTO has a lot of great benefits. The flexible schedules, vacation time, and bonus structure all make it a pretty good place to work in general. The office also gets its funding from fees, so as you could see from the shutdown, people were still able to work.

    ConsIf you are a person that thrives in working in groups, this is not the place for you. If you like working on different types of projects, this is not for you. You will spend most of your time on your own, looking at applications and talking with attorneys. It's pretty much what you do 95% of the time.

    Advice to Senior ManagementContinue to update the workforce on changes upcoming - with AIA on the horizon a lot is about to change.

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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    6 people found this helpful  

    Production Counts are what Counts

    Patent Examiner (Former Employee) Alexandria, VA

    ProsFor me it was fun to understand the inventions in the patent applications and to try to find prior art (work/invention) which was the same as the invention in the patent application; or to alternatively find aspects of the invention in multiple pieces of prior art and to make an argument why it would've been obvious to combine those aspects. It's challenging and you're learning everyday.

    ConsEven during your first year when theoretically you're not evaluated based on your production level, you are expected to be at a 60%, 80% and 100% production levels by 6, 8 and 11 months respectively. That's understandable as the USPTO is financed by the fees generated by production and therefore they only want to keep people they know can produce at the expected level. But it does make for a stressful job if you're having difficulty meeting production expectations.

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

    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

  1. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    Tough performance req. for employees to remain outstanding each year, but some say possible if unpaid time is worked.

    Attorney-Advisor (Current Employee) Alexandria, VA

    ProsBest telework plan in the government. Best workforce in the government. Best political appointees and upper management in government, except as described below.

    ConsGroup directors and law office managers seem at complete odds on practice and procedure and employee relations. For employees, it is like being the child at a dinner table where your parents are arguing about getting divorced. That uneasy feeling? That is how it feels in meetings with Group directors and law office managers.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet along and listen to each other and your employees

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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

    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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    You will either hate or love this job.

    Patent Examiner (Former Employee) Alexandria, VA

    ProsYou have a ton of flexibility. Just make your counts and you can work as little or as much as you want. The environment's super casual and you can wear whatever you want (I saw plenty of sweatpants). While I was there, they offered law school tuition reimbursement (but that may have not survived the sequester). They also have special government pay, so you get a higher starting salary in addition the government benefits. Eventually, you can work remotely from wherever you want (provided you're willing to travel to the office at your own expense periodically).

    ConsDon't be fooled by all the rosy recruiting materials. There's a huge reason there's 50% turnover in the job. It's not for everyone. I was miserable. You're a paper pusher essentially and spend all day doing pretty monotonous solo work. Your performance is based on quotas (and the mechanical areas in particular are pretty notorious for volume, volume, volume) and your manager will look at little else when evaluating your performance. Additionally, your ability to meet quota depends entirely on the permissiveness of your SPE/primary manager (i.e., your manager) when signing cases. Some will sign anything and some will send cases back for multiple revisions, making it hard to meet quota.

    If you want to do "hands-on" engineering work, this really isn't it. You'll need the educational background to understand what you're examining, but you won't really do any design work or anything that requires engineering judgement. I'd say the work is more legal in nature.

    If you can handle the specific work environment, it's really not a bad gig. But just go into it with your eyes open.

    Advice to Senior ManagementMore time for cases.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • No Opinion of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Satisfying work with great flexibility

    Patent Examiner (Current Employee) Alexandria, VA

    ProsFlexibility with workable hours and time off.

    ConsProduction and stress of continually keeping up with changes in requirements.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Great place to work in DC

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsGreat for flexibility and pay

    ConsMany of the supervisory patent examiners are poor managers and lack leadership skills.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

     

    Mixed

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsFlexible schedule, get to learn about various ideas, good pay

    ConsManagement only cares about numbers & does not value good employees. Basically I was told because I was smart & did well, that was the reason I kept getting moved around to different art units & forced to learn new things with new incompetent supervisors while other employees that did not catch on got to sit around & not be challenged. Be very careful of not doing too well. Management will catch up & end up using you to achieve their end goals.

    Advice to Senior ManagementTake care of your good employees if you want to keep them happy as opposed to using them & forcing them into situations where they have no choice.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    great lifestyle

    Patent Examiner (Current Employee) Alexandria, VA

    ProsVERY FLEXIBLE schedule
    AMAZING entry level salary

    Conshigh stress level if you fall behind

    Advice to Senior Managementkeep on keeping on

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

Worked for US Patent and Trademark Office? Contribute to the Community!

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