Position Title: Electrical, Electronics, Telecommunications, IT & Computer Engineers and Physicists - Patent Examiner
Classification: Patent Examiner
Commencement Salary: $76,583
Position Number: Several 
Tenure: Ongoing
Duration: Permanent
Sections: Multiple sections/disciplines – Computer Science and Engineering; Information Technology; Telecommunications; Electrical and Electronics Engineering; and Physics.
Group: Patents, Chemical, Plant Breeders’ Rights & Electrical Group (PCPEG)
Division: IP Rights
Location: Canberra (main office) or Melbourne
Immediate Supervisor: EL1 – Senior Examiner of Patents
Security Classification: ENTRY ONLY

Group Responsibilities

IP Australia is an Australian Government agency with a passion for bright ideas, offering a great work-life balance, flexible working arrangements and rewarding career paths in the intellectual property (IP) industry.
IP Australia administers intellectual property rights and legislation relating to patents, trademarks, registered designs and plant breeders’ rights in Australia.

Australian Public Service (APS) Values guide us through our working lives, setting expectations for shared behaviour that keep our workplace harmonious and productive. The values are also a promise to the people of Australia that we can be trusted to act with integrity, in their service and in accordance with the Public Service Code of Conduct.

Section Responsibilities

Patent Examiners review patent applications to determine whether patents can be granted for inventions defined in the applications. This is done by searching patent and technical databases to ensure the invention is new, unique and non-obvious in addition to applying legislation-based procedures to ensure that National applications meet the requirements of the Patents Act 1990 and International applications meet the requirements of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

As an Examiner, you will liaise closely with patent attorneys or directly with applicants/inventors working to resolve issues within their applications. You will have in addition to technology specific skills, exceptional time management skills, as well as clear, concise and logical written and oral communication skills, and a high capability to make decisions based on evidence.

Several positions are being offered within the following examination sections:

  • Telecommunications, Electrical and Electronic Engineering: This section is primarily responsible for examining applications related, but not limited to, electronic communication techniques (wireless, telecommunication, television, satellite), electronic and electrical circuits, antennas, high efficiency video coding, communication networks and the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power including electrical connectors and switchgear.
  • Computer Science and Engineering; and Information Technology: This section is primarily responsible for examining applications related, but not limited to, computer hardware, software and web technologies, cloud computing, image processing, machine learning, virtual/augmented reality, computer security, and computer storage.
  • Physics: This section is primarily responsible for examining applications related, but not limited to the field of physics (e.g. optics, nucleonics, semiconductor/solid state, PV, measurements and sensors, nano/micro manufacturing, but also lamps/lighting, anti-counterfeiting, gaming and printing technology). A strong foundation in physics and capacity to quickly learn about new technologies is essential.
  • Data Processing & Measurements: This section is primarily responsible for examining data processing systems (specially adapted for administrative, commercial, financial, forecasting purposes), transmission of digital information, measuring electric and magnetic variables and geophysics. The section also examines applications in areas such as secret communication, education appliances, health informatics, traffic control systems and earth/rock drilling.

You must have a degree relevant to at least one of the technologies/disciplines listed against these examination sections. Expertise in one or more of these technologies is desirable. Your degree need not cover all technologies relevant to the section you indicate your preference for.

Job description / Context of the role

Starting as a trainee examiner, you will be supported by a workplace coach through a competency-based training program to build your competence/expertise. After successful completion of the training program, you will work independently in one of these sections where you will search and examine patent applications and produce search and examination reports.

Patent Examiners are responsible for applying their technical knowledge in assessing Australian and International patent applications to determine whether those applications meet legislative requirements. Through the examination process, Patent Examiners are among the first to see new developments across a wide range of emergent technologies.

Working in a team of approximately 30 people, you will be able to identify work group priorities and achieve team goals. You will also be responsible for managing your own work program to meet performance requirements.

IP Australia is a workplace with flexible working options and the main office is located in Canberra. Successful candidates will have the option to work from the main office or the Melbourne office. It is required that successful candidates spend the initial training period in the Canberra office. The opportunity of remote working from other locations in Australia with suitable internet connection is available after the successful completion of the training program to suitable examiners.

Note: Candidates are encouraged to discuss the position with the contact officer.

Patent Examiner Career Pathway

It is a condition of employment that Patent Examiners successfully attain Acceptance Delegation (AD) within two years from the day on which employment commences with IP Australia.

Attainment of AD is an essential qualification which enables independent examination and acceptance of patent applications. This is the core function of a Patent Examiner. To attain AD, examiners must successfully complete the competency based IP Rights Examiner program.

Patent Examiners are eligible for salary progression upon successful completion of training milestones.

A Patent Examiner commences equivalent to an Australian Public Service Level 6 classification.

Job Specific duties

In this role, specific duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Using online resources to identify and retrieve technical information related to the described invention
  • Analysing documents and determining if the legislative requirements are met, including whether the invention is new and inventive
  • Communicating with applicants or their representatives on the outcome of searching and examination and considering their responses
  • Either recommending for acceptance or accepting applications for the grant of patents
  • Performing other research, examination or administrative tasks to meet team and organisational goals
  • Demonstrating attitudes and behaviours responsive to workplace change
  • Improving organisational performance through effective engagement with and management of risk within their relevant area
  • Establishing clear expectations and creating an environment to achieve stated goals and objectives, taking ownership and honouring commitments
  • Maintaining an understanding of their responsibilities under the Work Health & Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and a commitment to promoting a healthy and safe workplace
  • Contributing to the Patents & PBR group and IP Australia to achieve our goals

Job Specific Capabilities

The successful candidates will possess the following:

  • Highly developed organisational skills including the ability to prioritise tasks and collaborate with others to achieve deadlines
  • Well-developed communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Excellent interpersonal skills at all levels
  • A high level of personal resilience and a proactive approach to learning
  • Sound judgment and analytical skills
  • Professional manner - in person, over the phone and via email
  • Ability to build and maintain positive working relationships and work effectively in a collaborative and diverse environment

Eligibility qualifications / Knowledge required

You will need a recognised degree which is relevant to at least one of the technologies examined by the sections.

We encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with relevant skills and experience to apply for this role.

These roles are open to Australian Citizens only.

Application Requirements

To apply for this position, candidates are asked to frame their responses around the job specific duties and job specific capabilities of the role and provide:

1. An explanation of how their skills, knowledge and experience will be relevant to this role (up to 500 words in total).
2. Details of two (2) achievements, within the last 5 years, that demonstrate their suitability for this role (up to 500 words in total).
3. Provide a current CV detailing recent employment history which is relevant to the advertised position.
4. Provide name and contact details of two referees. Referees may be contacted any time after candidates proceed to step 2 of the selection processes referred to below.

Important points to note

  • Applications must be submitted through the IP Australia Web Recruitment system (ESS).
  • IP Australia will conduct reference checks on short listed candidates and may ask you to provide the name and contact details of two referees.
  • These roles are open to Australian Citizens.
  • You must be able to meet IP Australia’s security clearance requirements and you must be able to obtain and hold a security assessed clearance.

**Please note Online testing and interviews for this role will be conducted in February 2020 with an anticipated start date of Monday 27 April 2020

What does the Selection Process Involve?

There are a number of steps in the selection process to make sure we have a good match between your needs and skills and those of a successful Patent Examiner.

Step 1 – Application
Address the application requirements identified above.

Step 2 – Online logical and reasoning assessments
Shortlisting will occur based on your application and CV. If shortlisted, you will be contacted via email and required to take online logical and reasoning tests.

Step 3 – Interview and further assessments
After further shortlisting based on the logical and reasoning tests, you may be invited to attend an interview with IP Australia. Referees may be contacted to ask some brief questions with your permission.
On the day of the interview, you will be asked to complete a written assessment as an opportunity to demonstrate your written communication and logical reasoning skills followed by a series of questions by the interview panel.

Step 4 – Clearances
If you are offered the role, you will be asked to undertake a few pre-employment checks relating to things such as health and security clearances. Once that is done, you can start with IP Australia and begin training with other new recruits to be a Patent Examiner.

Would you like to know more?

Access our website and see our case studies and FAQ’s.

See this YouTube Video that showcases one of our patent examiners.

Information related to the salary range can be found in IP Australia's Enterprise Agreement 2017 - 2020.

Contact officer

For further information pertaining to this job please contact Pradnya Satarkar on (02) 6283 2003.

**Please note IP Australia will be closed for Christmas shutdown from Wednesday 25 December 2019 to Wednesday 1 January 2020, reopening Thursday 2 January 2020.

Applications Close: Midnight, Tuesday 21 January 2020


Apply for this role

Working in IP Australia

Australia’s Intellectual property (IP) rights system supports innovation, investment and international competitiveness. IP Australia administers Australia’s IP rights system, specifically patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder’s rights. IP Australia also undertakes programs to educate and promote an awareness of intellectual property (IP), provides IP policy input to Government, develops legislation to support the IP system and contributes to bilateral and multilateral negotiations to improve IP protection internationally.

IP Australia strives to deliver robust IP rights efficiently, satisfy our customers in terms of timeliness and value for money and be recognised as one of the leading IP offices in the world for the quality (including accuracy and consistency) of the IP rights we grant. IP Australia is committed to external certification of our Quality Management System which involves applying ISO 9001:2008 to key business processes and to environmental management through ISO14001 certification within the agency.

All IP Australia staff contribute to the achievement of organisational outcomes and the overall management of IP Australia by assisting, as appropriate, the Commissioner of Patents and the Registrars of Trade Marks and Designs and Plant Breeder’s Rights, and their deputies (where relevant), to perform statutory functions, and where appropriate, exercise relevant delegations.

IP Australia recognises the importance of employees balancing their work and personal lives by offering staff access to an ongoing series of health and wellbeing programs, flexible work-life policies and a range of professional development programs. IP Australia is a breastfeeding friendly workplace.

The IP Australia office in Canberra provides high quality accommodation and facilities. These include: an on-site café, conference, meeting and training rooms; limited on-site parking for cars and motor cycles available on a rotational basis; the provision of undercover bicycle racks; excellent shower/change facilities for staff choosing to walk or ride to work; and the advantage of all staff being co-located in the one building.

Please note: All IP Australia positions are subject to an ENTRY ONLY pre-employment check unless a higher security clearance has been identified. Other pre-employment checks may also apply.

Job documentation updated and endorsed for use: 
Thursday, November 28, 2019