Patent examiner FAQs
When do we advertise patent examiner positions?
Advertising occurs when we need patent examiners. If you wish to receive notifications about advertised positions, you can set up a job alert.
Can I apply for the job of a patent examiner if I am not an Australian citizen?
To be eligible to apply you must be an Australian citizen. In limited circumstances only, you may be an Australian permanent resident.
Do you have age limits for applicants?
Patent examiners are selected on merit.
How do I apply?
Applications can be made though our online recruitment system Web Recruitment.
Where are interviews conducted?
Interviews are conducted in Canberra.
If you are an interstate applicant who is successful in receiving an interview, we will meet the cost of your flight to Canberra. Alternatively, we can arrange for a telephone interview.
How do you assess applicants?
Assessment is managed in two stages.
Stage 1 is a written application that must include:
- details of your qualifications
- your academic results, including a transcript or list of subjects you studied, and the results
- an abstract of your thesis (if applicable)
- a detailed resume of your employment, research and study history, including an explanation of any gaps
- contact details including an alternate contact
- details of your citizenship status
- a response to the questions asked in the application form.
Applicants are short-listed based on their written applications. If you are short-listed, you progress to stage 2.
Stage 2 is an on-line verbal reasoning assessment. Applicants will be further shortlisted based on the results of this assessment. Successful applicants will then progress to stage 3.
Stage 3 will be a first round interview to assess verbal communication skills and interpersonal skills. This will be a face to face interview for applicants in Canberra or via teleconference for interstate applicants. A further shortlisting process will occur on the basis of this first round interview and successful applicants will progress to Stage 4.
Stage 4 is a face-to-face interview, held in Canberra, which is followed by a written test. The written test assesses your comprehension and written communication skills.
All applicants who are interviewed are taken on a tour of an examination section.
We contact referees verbally after interviews.
When do we make an offer to the successful applicant?
We make offers to successful applicants shortly after their interview.
If I am successful, when do I start?
We will advise you of your start date if we make you an offer.
Where will I be working?
Most patent examiner positions are in Woden, Canberra. There are some Melbourne-based roles.
If I am to relocate to take a job, can you help me relocate?
As a successful applicant, we will meet reasonable costs associated with relocating from within Australia. This could include:
- travel costs from your current place of residence to take up a position
- the cost of relocating your dependants, furniture and household effects
- temporary, short-term accommodation.
How will I be trained?
You and other successful applicants enter a training program when starting with us. This runs for approximately six months. The initial training focuses on specific technical skills and includes examination work under close guidance. You then have the opportunity to consolidate your skills with further on-the-job training. As a condition of engagement you are required to successfully attain the Commissioner of Patents Acceptance Delegation within 2 years of commencing employment. If you have not attained Acceptance Delegation within this timeframe, you may have failed to meet a condition of engagement and action may be taken to terminate your employment.
We provide new patent examiners with the required training and support to complete the requirements needed to perform their roles.
What is the starting salary?
Patent examiners generally start at the minimum pay scale, which is outlined in our Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014.
Progression is possible within the examiners' pay scales and is dependent on performance.
How do achieve salary advancement?
Salary progression is based on satisfactory performance. Usually salaries advance annually to the next pay point on the pay scale; however, access to some pay points is based on:
- meeting training requirements
- meeting special performance standards, e.g. progression to the upper salary levels requires you to accept patent applications without supervision and is subject to a further performance assessment
- advancement if you display satisfactory progress in the expanding aspects of the job
- promotion to supervisory and management positions within patent examination areas, and other areas within our organisation.
What are my career prospects as a patent examiner?
As a patent examiner you have a broad range of career options open to you. We offer a number of ongoing professional development and training opportunities. These include the opportunity to:
- develop further technical skills within the examination area
- develop legal skills in the examination role
- learn other tasks associated with examination functions, such as online searching techniques
- seek progression to a management role, such as a senior examiner, when positions become available
- move to other areas of responsibility within the broader IP system
- pursue careers beyond IP Australia, within the Australian Public Service (APS), with international organisations or with patent attorneys.
Whatever your interest, be it technical, legal or administrative, the experience and skills you gain as a patent examiner put you in good stead for career advancement.
If you obtained your degree overseas, it must conform to Australian professional standards and be formally recognised.
- IP Australia Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014 PDF [ 1168 KB]
- IP Australia Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014 RTF [2939KB]
Last Updated: 22/6/2015