US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews in Virginia | Glassdoor

US Patent and Trademark Office Virginia Reviews

Updated April 23, 2017
246 reviews

Filter

Filter

Virginia

246 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date

Pros
Cons
  • Meeting production requirements on a bi-weekly schedule may be difficult at times (in 21 reviews)

  • Not being able to allow cases on top of multiple returns by your supervisor can make it impossible to meet production which leads to termination (in 20 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "For young kids having energy to follow a plurality of instant changes. Not good for people with bunch of distractions."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    When you are ready for extreme working challenges, they can provide you huge bonus and overtime pay.

    Cons

    don't expect a wonderful life before you being granted with signature authority

    Advice to Management

    PLease provide better options when exployee no longer compatible.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Patent Examiner"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Former Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Security, good benefits, retirement. Work can be interesting. Fee training.

    Cons

    Exploitive. Would not pay to move me from CA to VA. They want work to good quality, fast, too few hours allotted to do essentially piece work.

    Advice to Management

    It's 21st century. Get with it.


  3. "Excellent working at the forefront of technology. Substantive technical and legal experience."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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 3 years)

    Pros

    Flexibility and work life balance. Great pay. Good social collegial atmosphere. Opportunities for noncompetitive advancement (do the work and be good and it — you'll get promoted).

    Cons

    Repetitive work. Depending on your art, you may not often see groundbreaking technology. Too much job satisfaction hinges on your SPE. Some are good; some aren't.

    Advice to Management

    Some SPEs need more management training.


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. "Patent Extern"

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

    Pros

    Great Experience

    Wonderful Place to Work and Live

    Cons

    Compensation is 0 for an intern and there is no job guarantee after the summer, but if you have a chance to apply definitely take it.


  6. Helpful (13)

    "No Job Security - Highly Political - Dead end Career Path"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    I have known one or two highly motivated people with legal degrees come to the PTO for a short time 1-2 years max in order to transition into patent prosecution. Otherwise a long term career isn't as great. The telework program allows location flexibility, however there is currently a very strong motivation at the management level to track every hour teleworkers work through keyloggers and constant monitoring. However, if you work on campus nobody really cares. The office also provides standard federal benefits. These are nowhere near what better places of employment provide, but are better than the average private sector job.

    Cons

    It is a dead end career path. This career prepares you for nothing else. It is basically the resume equivalent of not working at all. Perhaps worse. Other than working at a patent prosecution firm, in which case you will want a law degree, there are few options once leaving. Management is entirely number oriented. You are on production, docket management, quality, and recently time and attendance. Any one of these can be used to force you out at the whims of management. I have seen people with proper production and workflow axed due to time and management issues. In one instance they came into the office while a teleworker and were told they were AWOL. When management was informed they badged into and worked in the office the office refused to look into their own badge in/out records and insisted the examiner obtain it through a FOIA request. Once the info was obtained management then refused to remove the AWOL status as they said the examiner had exceeded their time to respond. Several constant issues like this finally pushed the examiner out through essentially a constructive dismissal. Primarily management uses these means when production is low. Quality is sometimes used if production and workflow are met. Other examiners (even those at GS-15 in re-exam) have been fired over quality issues after 25 years at the office with 24 of those years having an outstanding or commendable rating. It is also worth noting that the PTO has had some of the highest attrition rates of any government agency in the Federal government. This is not a place you can expect to stay at through a career or have any useful options to transition to if you leave. Just avoid it.

    Advice to Management

    Hire more engineers straight out of college. Maintain a huge surplus of workers. Given that the career path is a dead end attrition will remain high. Try to be less capricious/political with who you target and fire in order to prove you are doing a good job to Congress. Actually provide training to examiners, serious training. Accept that quality control is out of your hands and is at the whims of the judiciary. Such 50% of certain biotech/computer cases going from patent eligible to 101 ineligible randomly.


  7. Helpful (9)

    "Costly Mistake"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Bait: All these great stories about work from home; promotion potential to GS13, which is rare in govt. engineering jobs
    Prey: Engineers who are stuck at that mid level in the private industry and cant wait to get into that 130k club (not california); Engineers who want to get into the lucrative patent field.
    Job: Clerical, monotonous, examine cases, reading the invention is fun, searching all biweek is not - sometimes going no where, manage to get atleast some cases approved, the clock starts all over again every monday. Full time work from home wont happen until like the third year.
    Flaw: At least, half new examiners get supervisors, who start with a condescending, distrustful mindset of new examiner's search skills and the prior art they find to reject a case. This results in great scrutiny of the new examiner's cases than is normally done. The new examiner is unable to cope up with this scrutiny, production suffers, loses any motivation and is not retained. I read this from the earlier reviews but, I was confident that, I was a hard worker. The other half new examiners sail by with the same effort and skill as the latter.
    Blame: Can't blame the supervisors - they can't change their style. All they do is call you once every week and stress the need to produce more. They want you to call them if you cant find prior art but, all they end up doing is ask you to search more.
    Advise: Tread carefully. Absolutely no protection or support for the new examiner, half make it, half don't, lucky if your previous employer takes you back. There are many agencies out there who offer a decent number of work from home days.
    Summary: Nightmare to go through that feeling of not being retained, when you have done so well in school and 10 years of prior research and engineering jobs.

    Cons

    Stressful, inconsistent expectations of new employees, production requirements, involuntary overtime, sweatshop culture, on your own even in the probationary year


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Love or Hate"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Salary is amazing since living in VA, DC or MD could be really expensive. Pension is good. TSP is alright since they only match 5%. Health Benefits are not that great since it is expensive for the area. Flexible hours, telework and hoteling available after reaching GS-9 for TW and GS-12 for hoteling.

    Cons

    Make sure that you like the job since after 3 or more years it is going to be really hard to find a job in the private sector or moving to a different agency. You will have to take a crazy pay-cut and start from zero somewhere else. Production could be tedious and hard depending on your supervisor. You have people that don't understand the job that well but they sign their own stuff so nobody can say anything about it. No technical skills will be added to your resume other than dealing with attorneys and IP.

    Advice to Management

    Standarization for all the managers


  9. Helpful (1)

    "patent examiner"

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

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time

    Pros

    Flexible work schedules and ability to work from home anywhere in the country.

    Cons

    Production based environment that is outdated. Isolating work. Not much opportunity to grow. Doesn't prepare for other opportunities outside IP.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Immediate Supervisor means everything ...which is well known in management to have negative consequences for the organiz"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I M M E D I A T E S U P E R V I S O R can make your life great......

    Cons

    I M M E D I A T E S U P E R V I S O R can completely destroy you entire life. They are scientists/engineers who know little if anything about management

    Advice to Management

    Unfair how one particular supervisor can destroy your life, but otherwise this is a very good job.


  11. Helpful (4)

    "Golden Handcuffs"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Arlington, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Arlington, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Flexible

    Great Initial Experience

    Good pay with secure job

    Cons

    Promotions don't change role/responsibility. You just do more of the same work.

    Introverts dream job, extroverts nightmare since there is very little interaction with colleagues or clients.

    Experience is very niche and combined with flexibility and pay makes it difficult to leave and transition to a new career with more growth.


Showing 246 of 402 reviews
Reset Filters