US Patent and Trademark Office
3.4 of 5 125 reviews
www.uspto.gov Alexandria, VA 5000+ Employees

US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews in Virginia

Updated Apr 5, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.3 92 reviews

                             

89% Approve of the CEO

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Teresa Stanek Rea

(9 ratings)

59% of employees recommend this company to a friend
92 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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From a Non-Patent Examiner

Graphic Designer (Current Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for more than a year

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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2 people found this helpful  

Good experience overall

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for less than a year

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

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6 people found this helpful  

Production Counts are what Counts

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for less than a year

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

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4 people found this helpful  

Challenging work, rewarding career.

Patent Examiner (Current Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for more than a year

ProsGreat flexibility.
Great work environment.
The overall atmosphere are the uspto is a very relaxed. This is a great job for someone who has legal training in intellectual property law. For the most part, the job is fair and does a great job training examiners in the art of patent examination.

ConsEndless production.
Work sometimes require time outside the normal 9-5.
Since most of the entry level examiners are not patent lawyer or legally trained, the agency should put more effort into giving the new examiners a holistic view of how law firms and patent prosecution works so the examiners understand how to perform their job better. Your success also depends on your supervisor. A good supervisor makes your life easy, but a micro-managing supervisor can make it more difficult to meet production requirements on time.

Advice to Senior ManagementPlease keep your examiners informed of the ever changing rules and regulations within the agency.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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3 people found this helpful  

Huge perks, super flexible, incredibly stressful and full of minutiae

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office part-time

Pros-The salary is fantastic for an entry level job
-The scheduling is very flexible. You could easily work 4 day weeks within your first year
-A great inside look at a very specific industry
-Very transparent job requirements and evaluations
-Lots of different possible career paths

Cons-Tight deadlines on multiple fronts, very stressful
-An almost absurd attention to detail in documents
-Thousands of grammatically inconsistent technical legal documents to search through daily

Advice to Senior ManagementProvide one on one training, some sort of shadowing program for new hires to learn the subtleties of the job that can't be explained well.

Yes, I would 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

I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for more than a year

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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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

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

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

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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

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for less than a year

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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4 people found this helpful  

You will either hate or love this job.

Patent Examiner (Former Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for more than a year

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

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2 people found this helpful  

Satisfying work with great flexibility

Patent Examiner (Current Employee)
Alexandria, VA

I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time for more than 5 years

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

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at US Patent and Trademark Office reviews and ratings in Virginia — including employee satisfaction and approval rating for US Patent and Trademark Office CEO Teresa Stanek Rea. All 92 reviews posted anonymously by US Patent and Trademark Office employees.