Last updated: 
9 October 2020

One of the most valuable marketing tools a business can own is its trade mark - think of Coca Cola, the Nike 'swish', or Qantas's flying kangaroo. People immediately identify a certain quality and image with goods or services that carry recognised trade marks.

The workplace

A Trade Mark Examiner assesses trade mark applications to make sure they meet the requirements for registration under the Trade Marks Act 1995.

Trade Mark Examiners conduct research using online resources, analyse and interpret information, and apply legal tests and principles to ensure trade marks are registrable. Examination research tools are electronic and include internal and external databases and procedural manuals. Trade Mark Examiners will be required to apply and interpret legislation and court decisions.

Examination work is performed independently and as part of a small team, however, examiners must take responsibility for the management of their own work, meet set targets, and perform other search, examination and administrative tasks to achieve team or organisational goals.

While examiner training is office-based, there is the opportunity for flexible working arrangements such as home-based work on completion of the training program.

Examination work is intensively keyboard and screen-based, and examiners spend most of their time sitting or standing at an adjustable workstation, working at a computer, using both a laptop and dual-desktop screens. Most of the work involves repetitive hand/arm actions, fine hand coordination, fine visual attention to detail, and concentration. Applicants with musculoskeletal or visual vulnerabilities are requested to contact the contact officer to receive more detail about the inherent requirements of the job, including the availability of reasonable adjustments.

As your career as a Trade Mark Examiner progresses, your teamwork will expand to include supervision, mentoring and coaching responsibilities.

Qualities and skills

Trade Mark Examiners come from varied backgrounds and work experiences, are of different ages and have different interests. We provide training for new examiners from when they commence with IP Australia until they have completed their training program.

Successful applicants demonstrate the following qualities and skills:


  • openness to learning in a group setting
  • receptive to constructive feedback and able to apply this in the performance of duties, both in training and on the job
  • ability to work collaboratively and cooperatively, and thrive in a diverse workgroup
  • ability to work independently
  • ability to recognise and respect the work preferences and different views of others.


  • 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


IP Australia offers an intensive competency-based training program. The program is based on the technical skills required to successfully apply the legislative tests of the Trade Marks Act 1995, and the corporate skills required to perform effectively as an employee of the APS.

The training consists of group training sessions and individualised on-the-job training, and broadly includes:

  • Basic procedures in IP Australia, and trade mark legislation and examination practices
  • How to make use of appropriate references and resources. This includes teaching you how to use the tools to consistently apply the tests set out in case law
  • Teamwork and time management training, which are fundamental to being an effective member of an examination team

You will be required to meet particular milestones in each stage of the training program, and each stage must be completed before advancing to the next stage of the program. Throughout the program, you will be required to examine trade marks under the supervision of a workplace coach. On completion of the program, you will gain the delegation to examine trade marks independently.

More information