US Patent and Trademark Office

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US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews in Washington, DC

Updated June 24, 2014
Updated June 24, 2014
149 Reviews

3.8
149 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Teresa Stanek Rea
13 Ratings

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)

More Highlights

114 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good experience overall

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

    Pros

    The 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.

    Cons

    If 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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 4 people found this helpful  

    Know what you are getting into

    Current Employee - Patent Examiner  in  Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in 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 ManagementAdvice

    -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

  3. 5 people found this helpful  

    You will either hate or love this job.

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

    Pros

    You 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).

    Cons

    Don'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 ManagementAdvice

    More time for cases.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

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

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

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Group 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 ManagementAdvice

    Get along and listen to each other and your employees

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    It's a government job-don't expect what they say that they will provide.

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

    Pros

    It pays more than you will get from other companies.

    Cons

    They 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 ManagementAdvice

    The people between the upper management and the new employees are not qualified to manage others.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Satisfying work with great flexibility

    • 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

    Pros

    Flexibility with workable hours and time off.

    Cons

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great location and wonderful environment

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

    Pros

    As a contractor, it depends entirely who you work for. I am fortunate enough to have found a decent spot. The atmosphere is surprisingly lax and the campus is wonderful.

    Cons

    Be wary of typical government egos walking around - your usual political games. Never say anything outside of safe chit chat while in mixed company. Don't break any rules, including the ones everyone just skips over and signs on the first day. Recently saw a contractor fired just for logging in internationally to help a coworker while she was on vacation. If you can keep yourself off the blotter, you'll be just fine.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    great lifestyle

    • 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

    Pros

    VERY FLEXIBLE schedule
    AMAZING entry level salary

    Cons

    high stress level if you fall behind

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    keep on keeping on

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Work At Home "Dream Job"; IF You're OK with the Rinse and Repeat cycle.

    • 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

    Pros

    3 words - WORK AT HOME.

    The job gives you that ultimate work/life balance luxury allowing you to work entirely from home, maintain an extremely flexible work schedule and wreak the benefits. Although, don't assume you'll be working from home immediately upon entering the PTO. You'll pay your dues just like you would anywhere. BUT, once you're given the green light, move to anywhere in the country and enjoy.

    Cons

    Pay is decent at the higher levels, but not as comparable to a senior Patent attorney; and sometimes we end up doing their work anyway....

    Work is fairly repetitive and is essentially entirely paperwork-based.

    Engineers that want "hands-on real engineering projects" need not apply.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    More time, more time!! :-)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    It is not that rosy as the videos and the survey indicates

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

    Pros

    provides good training and resources for searching and reviewing prior art.

    Cons

    no team work and monotonous and tedious clerical work. crazy or mentally ill examiners who do not want to talk to you. spes are the top dogs and control your life. They need to whipped.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    try to make it like a place to work and not like a slavery or serfdom

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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