US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews in Virginia | Glassdoor

US Patent and Trademark Office Virginia Reviews

Updated March 29, 2017
241 reviews

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241 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Meeting production requirements on a bi-weekly schedule may be difficult at times (in 20 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 19 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (13)

    "Toxic work environment with poor leadership"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    After a certain amount of time you can work from home. For the time being you can work from anywhere in the US. However, this option is set to expire in 2017 unless Congress approves an extension.

    Flexible schedule and good pay (assuming you only work 40 hours a week)

    Cons

    - Sweatshop style production. Family member dies and you didn't meet your quota? Too bad. PTO Servers Fail and you can't do production? You're expected to do production anyways. Servers generally fail a few times per quarter. You will work weekends, unpaid, if you take any small measure of pride in sending out quality work. Unless you have a group of friends within the Office, don't expect any help on any issue. Generally, you are expected to be producing work even when using the restroom or walking to training/meeting. You are not expected to produce during the actual training/meeting.

    - "Quality" is a euphemism for production. No definition of what quality is even though it is a major factor in your yearly review.

    - No vision. There are many ways management could improve quality and maintain the current work rate. Management has no desire to change a system that has changed once (examiners were granted an additional 2.5 examining hours per case) since the 1970s.

    - No protections. Expect to get screamed at, insulted, and lied to if you don't immediately allow every application. Don't expect management to care. Theoretically, you are here to grant inventors patents and protect other inventors from overly broad patents. Management should recognize this and protect examiners from overzealous stakeholders. In reality, management caves to whatever the current stakeholder demands.

    - Poor Management. All promotions are based on production, regardless of the ability to manage people. If you are good at production, you can become a SPE (supervisory patent examiner). If you are good at squeezing production out of your examiners, you can work your way up to Director. I work most weekends in order to send out what I view as quality work. As other have mentioned, your success is going to hinge on your SPE. I'd say your shot at a good (meaning they won't tank your chance at a career) SPE is 50/50. Additionally, management knows best with regards to everything. Never expect your opinion or suggestion to be considered let alone valued.


  2. Helpful (4)

    "Not for everyone"

    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
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great people, good benefits, ability to earn a lot of money but will require a lot of work and no life balance.

    Cons

    Stressful, all about production, learning patent law, some supervisor are not supportive

    Advice to Management

    Spend time training SPE how to how be manager


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Good Place to work if your SPE is a good manager"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    After passing the Patent Law Exam, work at home is available. Communication with management and peers facilitated by the latest conferencing products. All examining work is through proprietary programming. Good bonuses and Rapid advancement to GS14.

    Cons

    Lots of egotistical primary examiners and SPEs. My SPE trainer did not believe that anyone should be hired as a GS9 and strove to "weed out" the GS9s from his class. Deadlines and production on a bi-week basis. Training is moderately effective.

    Advice to Management

    Learn to manage and empower rather than judge and be unavailable or unwilling to see ALL sides of an issue. The empowerment was preached but not practiced by the succession of SPEs over my Art Unit.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Patent Examiner"

    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 3 years)

    Pros

    Work from home after 2 years on campus; flextime

    Cons

    Meeting production (quota) on a bi-weekly schedule is difficult sometimes


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Employee engagement is a priority"

    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
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

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

    Pros

    Senior leadership from the Director to the heads of the business units are sincerely focused on ensuring the USPTO is one of the best places to work in the federal government, by engaging with and listening to employees, and acting on feedback.

    Cons

    The location is in a relatively sleepy part of Alexandria, VA, to the west and south of Old Town, with few restaurants or other diversions.


  7. "fair and great benefits"

    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
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    flexible schedule, merit dependent bonuses, truly an equal opportunity employer unlike many companies who allege they are, merit-based non-competitive annual promotions or step increases, benefits are great, have a patent examiners union which works with management to make for "fair" working conditions.

    Cons

    constant pressure to make production (application quota), so you must be extremely disciplined.

    Advice to Management

    try to examine cases under the same condituons that examiners currently do before making policy changes... perspective is key.


  8. "Great place to work"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Business Intelligence Architect in Alexandria, VA
    Former Contractor - Business Intelligence Architect in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office as a contractor (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    A lot of IT projects

    Cons

    Some of the decision making is too bureaucratic


  9. "Great Experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Alexandria, VA
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    I loved the atmosphere and the willingness of everyone in my department to assist with whatever I needed. I felt that I gained a lot of insight into the corporate world, since I hadn't worked in a place like that before.

    Cons

    It is so large, 5 huge buildings, it is easy to get lost. Being a contractor there would only be ok for your company who placed you there, otherwise it could feel like you are a number. Outsiders don't really speak to you, even if you look lost.

    Advice to Management

    I don't have any advice to given, especially as an intern. I had an amazing opportunity to be there for the summer, and I would do it again, if I could. :-)


  10. "Software Quality Assurance Test Engineer, Senior"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Software Quality Assurance Test Engineer in Woodbridge, VA
    Former Employee - Software Quality Assurance Test Engineer in Woodbridge, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    it's a nice place to work at

    Cons

    don't have any cons to say


  11. Helpful (5)

    "Agency under IG investigation for good reason"

    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
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Flexible work schedule.

    Not anything else but the system required a minimum input.

    Cons

    Not a team environment. Not an engineering position (clerical/legal). Supervisors are incompetent. Union is a joke.

    Not a public service position where you actually help the public -- you are required to reject viable innovative concept applications and allow ridiculously verbose foreign language machine translated applications -- you do what your supervisor or whoever signs your legal report says -- many times they do not have time to review so it is an extreme disservice to the American (and foreign) public inventors.

    Government benefits are worse than most good private company benefits.

    Very stressful if you come from any ethically responsible organization (especially regulatory) -- either public or private.

    This agency is under internal (IG) investigation for good reason -- the investigative reasons that make the press are only the tip of the iceberg.

    Advice to Management

    I hope the IG investigation is able to provide you with helpful input so you can make this a public service organization that applies ethical principles to promote innovation.



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