Position Title: Patent Examiner – Polymers & Applied Chemistry
Classification: Patent Examiner 
Position Number: Several
Tenure: Ongoing
Duration: Permanent
Section(s): Polymers & Applied Chemistry
Group: Patents, Chemical, Plant Breeder’s Rights & Electrical Group
Division: IP Rights
Location: ACT, with potential to work from other locations.
Immediate Supervisor: Executive Level 1
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, trade marks, registered designs and plant breeder's rights in Australia.

Patent Examiners are responsible for assessing Australian and international patent applications to determine whether the application meets legislative requirements. Through the examination process, Patent Examiners are among the first to see new developments across a wide range of technologies.

The 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 and act with integrity, in their service.

Section Responsibilities

Patent Examiners review applications to determine whether patents can be granted for inventions. We do this by searching patent and technical databases to ensure the invention is new and unique and applying legislation-based procedures to identify relevant issues in accordance with the Patents Act 1990 and PCT International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines.

As an Examiner, you will liaise closely with patent attorneys or private applicants, working to resolve issues within their applications and helping them to protect their intellectual property rights. You will have 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.

The Polymers and Applied Chemistry section is a multidisciplinary chemical section with a focus on polymer technology. The section examines applications relating to polymer synthesis, polymer compositions and their respective uses. In addition to polymers, the section also deals with a wide range of applied chemistry technologies including food, pesticides, catalysts, coatings, cements, cigarette technology, detergents and materials for surgical articles. Therefore the ideal candidate for the role will be a polymer scientist with a working knowledge of the applied chemistry areas afore mentioned. However, applicants with an applied chemistry background and some polymer knowledge may also be considered. 

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 expertise. After completion of the training package, you will work independently to produce patent examinations with clearly defined performance indicators.  Working in a team of 15-30 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 individual performance requirements.

IP Australia is a flexible workplace with the main office located in Canberra. For the current recruitment round it is expected that trainee Examiners will be based in Canberra for the duration of the training course. However, depending on the knowledge and experience of the candidate, there may also be scope for remote training. Candidates are encouraged to discuss this 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 of the day on which employment commenced 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 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:

  • Use online resources to identify and retrieve technical information related to the described invention
  • Analyse documents and determine if the legislative requirements are met, including whether the invention is new and inventive
  • Communicate with applicants or their representatives on the outcome of your search and examination and consider their responses
  • Either recommend for acceptance or accept applications for the grant of patents
  • Perform other research, examination or administrative tasks to meet team and organisational goals
  • Demonstrate attitudes and behaviours responsive to workplace change 
  • Improve organisational performance through effective engagement with and management of risk within relevant sphere of influence
  • Establish clear expectations and creates an environment to achieve stated goals and objectives, take ownership and honour commitments
  • Maintain an understanding of their/worker responsibilities under the Work Health & Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and a commitment to promoting a healthy and safe workplace
  • Contribute to the Patents, Plant Breeder’s Rights’ and Electrical Group and IP Australia to achieve our goals

Job Specific Capabilities

The successful candidate will possess the following:

  • Highly developed organisational skills including the ability to prioritise 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 environment

Eligibility qualifications / Knowledge required

You will need to hold a recognised degree in a relevant chemical science.

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 (as set out in the job advertisement), and provide:
    • An explanation of how their skills, knowledge and experience will be relevant to this role (up to 500 words in total).
    • Details of two (2) achievements, within the last 5 years, that demonstrate your suitability for this role (up to 500 words in total).
  • Provide a current CV detailing recent employment history which is relevant to the advertised position
  • Provide the name and contact details of two referees
  • Ability to obtain a security assessed clearance

Applications must be submitted through the IP Australia Web Recruitment system (ESS).

Please note: you MUST be an Australian Citizen to be engaged in the APS and to meet IP Australia’s security clearance requirements.

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 you needs and skills and those of a successful Patent Examiner.

Step 1 – Application

In addressing the selection criteria you provide us with information about yourself, your work history, your qualifications and answer a small number of specific questions to demonstrate your capabilities. 

Step 2 – Online Testing

Shortlisting will occur based on your application and CV. If shortlisted you will be contacted by email and asked to complete additional assessment including a short preliminary interview and online testing.

Step 3 – Interview and Other Assessments

After further shortlisting, you will be invited to attend an interview with IP Australia. Referees will be contacted to ask some brief questions.

On the day of the interview, you will be asked a series of questions by the interview panel and then asked to complete a written assessment as an opportunity to further demonstrate your professional capabilities.

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 or security clearances. Once that is done, you can start with IP Australia and begin training with other new recruits to be a Patent Examiner.

Contact officer

For further information pertaining to this job please contact Matthew Fisher on (02) 6283 2946.

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: 
Monday, April 23, 2018