US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews

Updated July 29, 2015
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156 Employee Reviews

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  1. Patent Examiner

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

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Great pay and benefits such as telework opportunities. Stressfulness of job depends on your supervisor and technology area. Good opportunity for very efficient workers- you have to stay vigilant and focused to meet your quota.

    Cons

    Some technology areas (notably the medical arts e.g. surgical devices) are not given adequate time to examine applications. Subject material is extremely complex and it can be nearly impossible for relatively inexperienced recent graduates to give applications a proper examination. Also if you get a poor/overworked/unhelpful supervisor you're going to have a rough time, but most of them are pretty good.

    Advice to Management

    Please re-evaluate hours per bd for medical arts.


  2. A very diversity , well organized company

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner In 1600s in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner In 1600s in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Allows you the opportunity to advance to leadership position

    Cons

    My challenges in working here consist of a lot of searching to fit the invention an managing DM

    Advice to Management

    This job is a very stressful job and I was able to handle it for eight years, now Its time for a career change; I have return to school and getting my masters In HR Management and I capable of adapting to new task and I feel that I'm a perfect candidate for this position


  3. Helpful (2)

    First year 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

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    lots of training provided. flexible work hrs after 4 months training.

    Cons

    Too much information is thrown at you for a regular person to take all in. hrs are not flexible. You are required to meed a certain production to be retained as you are on a 1 year probationary period.

    Advice to Management

    Tailor the training to more hands on versus just dumping information.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    PTO Service Desk

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

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office as a contractor (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    This environment is fast paced and collaborative. There are opportunities for advancement within the contract. The opportunities to learn and grow come with that advancement. If you make the effort, it will be recognized in some fashion.

    Cons

    The fast paced environment can lead to higher stress levels. Things are always in flux and changing/evolving. If you like structure and stability, this is not the right environment for you.

    Advice to Management

    Recognize the stress factors for employees. Realize that when something is pointed out, whether it is a normal part of their "Job Description" or not, there is a reason.


  6. 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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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.


  7. Helpful (6)

    Marketed as a less-stressful alternative; insanely stressful

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good compensation, exposure to new technology, excellent facilities, bulletproof benefits, excellent training program, full-time work-from-home after two years, very flexible scheduling

    Cons

    Terrible work-life balance--you will work a *lot* of unpaid overtime in order to make production, which causes stress. Production requirements are insane. Early arrival and late departure is the norm.

    Advice to Management

    Provide more one-on-one guidance for employees having difficulty making production. Provide more "real life" training rather than breaking down the principles of the patent laws. Work more closely with EAP to help employees having difficulty adjusting to the job.


  8. Helpful (7)

    Flexibility makes up for the slog

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

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    1. Incredible flexibility: work from home, telework, flex time, comp time, plenty of annual leave, and paid sick leave. After you are trained you work independently for the most part, and this lets you keep your own schedule and hours (within reason). 2. Agency: you make many of the decisions in your cases. You are the one who knows more about it than anyone else, you manage your own docket, you make your own choices on how to examine a given application, and ultimately you are responsible for what happens. Your supervisor will weigh in on the consequential decisions, but as time goes on you are given more authority up to the point where your work is no longer reviewed. Truly a Patent Office of One. 3. Solid foundation for a career in patent law. Many examiners use work at the patent office as a training ground to go into private practice, either quitting to go to law school full time or going to one of the many excellent evening programs in the DC area. Law firms appreciate the deep knowledge of substantive patent law that examiners walk out with. That said, being a patent examiner has diminishing returns in terms of staying for years and years. Most who leave for law school or law firms do so in their first 5 years.

    Cons

    1. It can be a slog. You have to do a set amount of work ("counts") every two weeks, so over time this can become pretty draining. Each week, open up your docket, calculate a way to your weekly production requirement, do the work. Repeat. 2. Bureaucracy: the PTO is a big place, and it can be easy to get lost. Your supervisor might work remotely most of the time, or spend his time on other projects, so it can be difficult to get feedback or useful advice. Most of the work processes are set in stone; even management can't change them at this point. Some feel like hamsters running in a wheel of production. 3. Loneliness: you work by yourself the overwhelmingly majority of the time. The only required interaction is with your supervisor, and after the first year or two even that becomes sporadic. If you don't go out of your way to make friends and socialize with coworkers, you can easily end up not interacting with anyone at all.


  9. 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


  10. 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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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.


  11. Helpful (5)

    Decent environment, not for everyone

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good pay, wonderful flexibility in hours and time off. Rarely hassled over much. Perfect work for those who don't prefer team based work.

    Cons

    The work is rather dreary, graduating with an engineering degree does not prepare you for 40 hours of patent law a week. Highly in subjective work. You day will go as well as your manager or attorney allows it to.

    Advice to Management

    Sorry. The problem for me was the work itself. I didn't have a problem with management. Maybe better office parties?



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