US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews in Virginia | Glassdoor

US Patent and Trademark Office Virginia Reviews

Updated November 18, 2017
254 reviews

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254 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Interesting work and a very good group of people to work with; excellent benefits with an amazing work/life balance; very good work from home program (in 65 reviews)

  • Flexible work schedule is a pro (in 47 reviews)

Cons
  • Two strong issues stand out: your ability to succeed it based on your own merits but also is seated in your ability to meet production requirements (in 28 reviews)

  • Lots of stress to meet production (in 17 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Worst Management I Have Ever Worked For/Unethical"

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

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

    Pros

    Bonuses
    Pay
    Education benefits (patents only)
    Telework (patents only)

    Cons

    Management
    Desperate treatment - Parents gets all the best benefits like hoteling.
    Regularly violates regs (don't take my word for it just Google USPTO IG audit or read the Washington Post)
    Ladder promotions often get held back even or employees receiving excellent performance ratings (the highest) (my division only, I don't know outside of my division) (hence, unethical in the heading)

    Advice to Management

    Listen! Our division regularly rates management very poorly in the employee view point survey. Year in and year out they don't address problem managers. This year instead of doing anything our C suite level manager lectured our division on always being "last" (give the worst ratings) and that we (the employees) need to communicate better then procees to ignore the survey and other communication. Most acrimonious work environment I have experienced in my career.


  2. Helpful (7)

    "Patent Examiner"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Learn patent application process and related laws.

    Cons

    Must meet production quotas. Shared a windowless room with a pig colleague. The supervisor was tele-work 4 days a week. The only customers were patent attorney who always argue legal jargon, not the invention. The organization is superficial with lots of wastes and abuses regarding time sheet reporting.

  3. Helpful (13)

    "Great benefits; not so much social interaction"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great flexibility. I was able to take the days I wanted off. Nice people.

    Cons

    My SPE was very nice. He tried to be helpful, but it wasn't the concrete help I really needed to work on office actions (document explaining to patent applicants whether this is or isn't patentable). He would tell me that the patent application isn't original so there's definitely prior art out there. And I would search and search endlessly trying to find that art. I would go back and tell him that I wasn't able to find anything good, but he would reassure me that there was and I need to search harder. Days I've spent digging through the database but end up with nothing. I felt the job wasn't for me so I left the job after 10 months. One day out of curiosity, I've looked up my old applications on Google Patents to see if they became patents. And a lot of them did with the same claims intact. My primary examiner was the one that allowed the applications. So that was pretty frustrating being told that they were not patents when they ended up being so. I believe having a good SPE and a good primary is key to this job.


  4. "Great place"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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 10 years)

    Pros

    Great pay, flexible hours, rewarding work

    Cons

    perception of being a govt employee


  5. "Summer Intern"

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

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

    Pros

    This a very friendly and fun place to intern. Everyone inner was super nice and helpful and always willing to take some time and discuss what you wanted and how to tailor the internship to your goals.

    Cons

    Sometimes the work could be a little slow especially if you end up with a department you are not familiar with. There is also a lot you need to learn quick (acronymns, different employee positions/duties, etc).

    Advice to Management

    Management could do a better job of being available. It can sometimes take a while to get to meet and talk to some of the upper level employees.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Good experience so far"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - IT Specialist (InfoSEC) in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - IT Specialist (InfoSEC) in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    I haven't been working at USPTO long enough to leave a comprehensive review. However, so far its been a positive experience. I will leave a more detailed review later.

    Cons

    Slightly political environment that needs to be navigated through. No telecommute at the moment for my position. From what I hear the patent examiners do have quotas they have to meet every 2 week cycle.

    Advice to Management

    No complaints so far, but I will update this review at a later date.


  7. "Examiner"

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

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

    Pros

    Doesnt get any better! This is the best job in the world.

    Cons

    I cannot think of any negatives to this job.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work!

  8. "Patent Examiner Extern"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Patent Examiner Intern in Fairfax, VA
    Former Employee - Patent Examiner Intern in Fairfax, VA

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

    Pros

    Lots of freedom to do your own work at your own pace. You also work with a lot of nice people who are willing to help you

    Cons

    The externship is unpaid and the training program is too short for externs.


  9. Helpful (17)

    "Seriously flawed management structure"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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

    Special rate salary table, pay is higher than normal GS schedule engineering positions. The telework/ hoteling program allows you to work from home from anywhere in the continuous United States once deemed eligible. Highly flexible work hours.

    Cons

    1. Management structure has no checks & balances. Your success of failure in this office is TOTALLY DEPENDENT on who your assigned supervisor or primary examiner is. This person holds total control over your career. If the person harbors any ill-will for you for any reason, they can simply not sign or delay signing your cases. As a junior examiner your work must be signed by one of these individuals. If it is not signed, you will fail to meet your bi-weekly production and docket management requirements. This will lead you to various warnings and then termination from the federal service. It is purely luck. Some supervisors and primaries are supportive, others look to get rid of examiners who were forced upon them by HR.
    2. Management- supervisory patent examiners are simply patent examiners who have been around long enough and who have high production. They are not screened for leadership abilities and receive little to no management training. Their engineering background explains the social awkwardness of most supervisors and directors. Such individuals can destroy your career.
    3. The production requirements will require you to work much longer than the standard 40 hour work week. You will work late nights and weekends to keep your "numbers" up. If you have a difficult art (department) this can be extremely challenging. People with easier art have a better overall experience in the office as they have less stress.
    4. Benefits such as the hoteling program and dangled in front of you during your probationary year, but the challenges faced by many examiners prevents them from achieving these benefits for many years.
    5. Probationary year is very stressful, only those willing to put in many extra hours will make it. The turnover rate at the Patent office is very high (for the above reasons), the turnover rate for probationary employees approaching the end of their first year at the office is even higher.
    6. Make no mistake, this is not a easy federal job, you have to maintain quantifiable production during your entire career. The required production increases as you increase grades.
    7. After a few years at the office, your job prospects are limited to only intellectual property; as you will have a huge gap in your actual engineering experience. No engineering company will hire you with a resume of only patent examining.

    Advice to Management

    Implement checks and balances to prevent SPEs & Primaries from backlisting examiners (not signing cases or not offering training/ guidance), causing them to receive disciplinary actions. SPEs should be screened for leadership ability and trained in leadership and management. Perhaps rotate SPEs and primaries so that a blacklisted examiner has a chance to redeem themselves with a different set of eyes. Standardize the examination process (perhaps fillable forms rather than typed office actions filled with opinion), eliminate obvious statements from office actions. Give auto-count to GS-11 examiners who need it during the difficult time period between years 1 & 2.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Jr Examiner"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Alexandria, VA
    Recommends

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

    Pros

    Flexible schedule 5:30 am- 10 pm
    Possibility of overtime and bonuses
    Telework and work from home options are available after one year of work
    Job details ar available

    Cons

    Meeting production is tricky and can be stressful. Unfortunately how successful or unsuccessful in this job is dependent upon who signs off on your work.


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