US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews

Updated July 22, 2015
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5.0
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Teresa Stanek Rea
11 Ratings

Pros
  • All the benefits of a federal job with job security and super flexible schedules (you can work from home full time) (in 27 reviews)

  • flexible work schedule allows for family friendly atmosphere, working from home is great (in 19 reviews)

Cons
  • Has to meet production requirement (in 8 reviews)

  • Challenging production requirements (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

33 Employee Reviews

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  1. LOVE it....so thankful!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Design Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Design Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    highly flexible work schedule, great area (Old Town) to work in, optional FULLTIME work from home at GS12, great pay, rewarded via bonuses for hard work, overtime additional to salary, great job for those of us who thrive in independent work environments

    Cons

    share an office for first several yrs, getting a good trainer early on decides your fate, type of work/meeting quotas can be stressful


  2. Software Test Engineering

    Current Employee - Software Test Engineer in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Software Test Engineer in Arlington, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office (More than a year)

    Pros

    To learn new things whatever you did not do before and work with sense of urgency before the dead line of product to go the market. You must have to maintenance walk through meeting or scrum meeting.

    Cons

    If you missed to get ready to prepare your work then you missed all of work environment . so be ready to get your work based on your time line.


  3. One of the best jobs I ever had

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Accountant in Alexandria, VA
    Former Employee - Accountant in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    It's a government agency that ran more like a business. Mostly down-to-earth people. Worked with a great group of people. Work kept you busy but not stressed out. Felt appreciated and was applicably rewarded. 4/10 compressed schedules offered. Right on Metrorail. Lots of good restaurants and stores within walking distance for lunch/after work activities.

    Cons

    None, none, none, none, none!

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work!


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  5. Helpful (1)

    Former AI Examiner

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Patent Examiner/Computer Engineer in Alexandria, VA
    Former Employee - Patent Examiner/Computer Engineer in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    - Great benefits and salary - Great work life mix - Clearly defined path to advancement

    Cons

    - Lack of mental stimulation after a certain point - Career ceiling is small within the office at a certain point within the field. - Grey area of what exactly is right and wrong when interpreting patent law.

    Advice to Management

    I'd recommend transitioning away from the old way of running government bureaucracies to a mixture of the old and new where upper management isn't so disconnected from the lower rank in terms of not only working to deal with outward criticism but also dealing with internal issues. Considering that the agency is run on fees and not taxes, there's lots of room to reallocate funds to employee work-life improvement.


  6. Helpful (7)

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

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Primary Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Senior Primary Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    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.


  7. Helpful (3)

    Largely positive experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    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.


  8. My Job

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


  9. Helpful (2)

    Junior patent examiner

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

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

    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.


  10. Helpful (1)

    great!

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    love the place, most ppl are very helpfull.

    Cons

    can become very repetitive, burnt out.

    Advice to Management

    na


  11. Helpful (1)

    Perfect job for Me

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    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



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