Patent examiners

An examination team in IP Australia 

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What do Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson and Gavin Bartell have in common? They have all worked as patent examiners.

Imagine the satisfaction you'll get from seeing a new product enter the market place knowing that you played a role in granting the inventor a robust patent right.

In a career as a patent examiner you'll get exposure to cutting-edge technology long before it becomes public knowledge, play an integral role in the innovation process and never have to worry about research funding again!

The workplace

A patent examiner works in an office environment, examining Australian and international patent applications. The role includes assessing detailed written descriptions of inventions and associated claims to determine whether the application meets the legislative requirements of the Patents Act 1990.

Tools of the trade

To perform the examination work an examiner uses a variety of examination tools including, but not limited to, in-house and worldwide patent and technical databases, procedural manuals, legislation and their own intellectual capabilities and technical knowledge.

As a result of the examination the patent examiner:

  • determines if the legislative requirements are met
  • determines whether the invention is new and inventive
  • communicates with applicants or patent attorneys the outcome of the analysis, and considers responses and submissions
  • recommends or approves the acceptance of a patent application (depending on experience).

The ability to work in a team or alone

Examination work is performed in a team environment; however, examiners must take responsibility for and management of their own work, meet set targets, and perform other search, examination and administrative tasks to meet other team or organisational goals.

As your career as a patent examiner progresses, your teamwork will expand to include supervision, mentoring and coaching responsibilities.


To be a patent examiner you need a recognised degree or a diploma together with appropriate industry experience. We look for specific qualities, skills and technologies during recruitment. Overseas degrees must conform to Australian professional standards and be formally recognised.

Fluency in English is essential.

We are an active member of the global IP community and a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). Working knowledge of one or more of the other PCT official languages - Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish - is an advantage.

Learning and development

We provide the appropriate legal and procedural training to enable the patent examiner to perform their duties effectively. The initial full-time training course is competency based, which includes formal and on-the-job training. You must complete all stages of the program successfully to meet the conditions of employment.

We offer ongoing in-house professional development courses on topics such as leadership, communication skills and IT skills.

Patent examiners are encouraged and supported to develop their legal and technical expertise through the Technical Examiner Learning Program (TELP) by attending technical conferences and industry visits.

Patent examiners may also pursue further study which we will encourage and support financially.

More information

Nicole - profile of a Patent Examiner

Listen to a patent examiner talking about their job.

Last Updated: 15/6/2015

Meet Kate
Master of Business Administration

Assistant Director International Policy & Cooperation since 2005
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