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Trade mark examiners

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One of the most valuable marketing tools a business can own is its trade mark. Think of the Olympic rings or Qantas's flying kangaroo. People immediately identify a certain quality and image with goods or services that carry recognised trade marks.

Trade marks can include a letter, word, phrase, sound, smell, shape, logo, picture, aspect of packaging or any combination of these. The Holden car, Redhead matches, the Mambo clothing label, the popular children's characters Bananas in Pyjamas, and Rosella soup images are some high-profile trade marks.

The workplace
A trade mark examiner reviews trade mark applications to make sure they meet the requirements for registration. In doing so, they are among the first to see new developments in technology and marketing.

They review the written claims in each class applied for protection, conduct searches to see if there are any conflicting trade marks and determine whether the mark meets other requirements under the Trade Marks Act 1995.

Tools of the trade
Trade mark examiners search for trade marks that have been applied for previously, using online resources, to ensure there are no earlier, conflicting trade marks.

Examination research tools are primarily electronic and include in-house and external databases, procedural manuals, legislation, court decisions and other legal resources, as well as examiner' own intellectual capabilities and technical knowledge.

As a result of the examination the trade mark examiner:

  • determines the capacity of the trade mark to distinguish the goods or services specified in the application
  • determines whether legislative requirements have been met in the making of the application
  • communicates with applicants or their attorneys on the outcome of the examination, and considers responses and submissions
  • recommends or approves the acceptance of trade marks for registration (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, must meet set targets, and must perform other search, examination and administrative tasks to meet other team or organisational goals.

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

Trade mark examiner - qualities and skills
There is no preferred background. Trade mark examiners come from varied backgrounds and work experiences, are of different ages and have different interests.

Trade mark examiners enter a training program when they start work with us. We train new examiners when they arrive until they are qualified.

Successful applicants demonstrate the following qualities and skills:

Qualities

  • Openness to learning in a group setting.
  • Receptive to constructive feedback and have the ability to apply this in the performance of duties, both when in training and on the job.
  • Able to work collaboratively and cooperatively, and thrive in a diverse work group.
  • Able to work independently if they need to.
  • Recognise and respect the work preferences and different views others.


Skills

  • Meet deadlines and adapt to a changing environment.
  • Well-developed written and verbal communication skills.
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills.
  • Sound research, analytical, comprehension and decision-making skills.
  • Self motivated.
  • Uphold the Australian Public Service and IP Australia Code of Conduct, and values, in carrying out day-to-day responsibilities.


Learning and development

When you start your new job with us, you will undertake a training program along with the other successful applicants. You must complete all stages of the program successfully within the specified timeframes to meet the conditions of engagement. If you do not do so, you may have failed to meet a condition of engagement and action may be taken to terminate your employment.

Training initially focuses on specific technical skills, and includes group sessions and individual on-the-job training.

Specifically the program covers:

  • the basic procedures in IP Australia, and trade mark legislation and examination practices
  • how to search trade mark and other technical databases
  • how to make use of appropriate references and resources as tools that help you to decide whether a trade mark meets the requirements for registration. This includes teaching you how to use the tools to apply the tests set out in case law, and to apply precedent appropriately.
  • relevant workplace skills, including teamwork and time management, which are fundamental to making an effective contribution to your examination team.

You will be paid a full salary during the training program.

Last Updated: 16/12/2013

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