Position Title: Plant Breeder's Rights Examiner
Classification: PBR – Commencement salary of $74,028 per annum
Position Number: Several
Tenure: Ongoing
Duration: Permanent
Section: Plant Breeder's Rights
Group: Patents Chemical, PBR and Electrical
Division: IP Rights
Location: ACT
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 Australia’s intellectual property (IP) rights system, specifically trade marks, patents, designs and plant breeder’s rights.

Our vision is to have a world leading IP system that builds prosperity for Australia.  IP Australia has a very strong international reputation among intellectual property agencies and is a member of the Madrid system which facilitates the registration of trademarks in multiple foreign jurisdictions.

IP Australia’s goal is to attract and retain the right people for the right jobs, no matter what their gender, ethnicity, age, religious beliefs, or personal commitments. This means that we embed diversity and inclusion in everything we do. This is reflected in our recruitment processes, workplace culture, customer service, policies and procedures. These are all underpinned by the APS Code of Conduct and our workplace diversity program.

Section Responsibilities

The Plant Breeder’s Rights office is part of IP Australia’s Patents Chemical, PBR and Electrical Group (PCPEG). Specifically, it administers applications for plant variety protection made under the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994. A small group of PBR examiners work individually and as a team, involved in all aspects of the plant variety evaluation process including the physical examination of plant material to determine whether all technical requirements have been satisified.

Job Description / Context of the Role

PBR examiners are required to undertake field work often at short notice, so they must be able to travel interstate, have a strong customer focus and advanced communication skills. Examiners work independently sometimes under difficult conditions and are required to use initiative and sound judgement to meet relatively short timeframes. As PBR operates on a cost recovery basis from fees paid by applicants, there is an emphasis on the efficient and timely production of quality assessments.

PBR examiners also play an important role in developing guidelines for these technical evaluations. Some guidelines are developed under the auspices of the UPOV Convention while others, called national descriptors, are developed for use in Australia. PBR examiners are also required from time to time to undertake tasks of a corporate nature in support of IP Australia’s strategic plan.

For this position, skills in plant variety evaluation and experience in PBR requirements/examination would be an added advantage. The personal qualities useful to PBR examiners include integrity, initiative and
flexibility to changing circumstances, self motivation, a willing approach and the ability to accept constructive feedback. Strong communication skills are critical to the role. A broad understanding of the
end-to-end PBR registration process and knowledge of the UPOV and other national and international instruments that relate to PBR would be advantageous.

A successful PBR Examiner will already have considerable technical ability in the relevant areas. IP Australia will provide a competency based training program, including on the job training, to enable the PBR Examiner to perform their duties effectively. PBR examiners are assessed for their competency regarding specific tasks and functions. Where the relevant competency level has been attained, a delegation to perform that task or function will be issued.

Job Specific Duties

  • Evaluate scientific/technical/legal aspects as well as the eligibility of applications for PBR, independently conduct field examinations at remote sites, liaise closely with applicants, industry and technical experts from other organisations; administer delegated functions including for example acceptance, rejection and grant of an application
  • Assist in maintaining a database of existing varieties
  • Prepare reports, analysis and present papers on various aspects of PBR
  • Assist with the development of procedures and techniques for distinguishing plant varieties and the timely preparation and quality assurance of technical descriptions of new plant varieties for inclusion in the Plant Varieties Journal and other miscellaneous publications including the PBR home page
  • Assist in the administration and training of other staff
  • Provide technical information to applicants, their consultants and agents for Plant Breeder’s Rights and place this information in the context of plant breeding, plant propagation, intellectual property laws and schemes in Australia and international IP conventions
  • Assist with the administration of the Plant Breeder’s Rights scheme also including the preparation of relevant documentation, including correspondence, briefings, articles, minutes, presentations, office procedures and analysis of technical papers
  • Meet production and quality expectations
  • Demonstrate attitudes and behaviours responsive to workplace change (including participating in and encouraging others to participate in change and contribute to successful outcomes)
  • Improve organisational performance through effective engagement with and management of risk within relevant sphere of influence
  • Establish clear expectations and create 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 commit to promoting a healthy and safe workplace

Job Specific Capabilities

  • Well-developed verbal and written communication skills
  • Well-developed initiative, professional judgement and decision-making skills
  • Ability to set own goals and adapt to changing priorities and competing timeframes in order to meet deadlines and specified targets
  • Maturity and high levels of emotional intelligence
  • Independence, resilience
  • Attention to detail
  • Computer, database, spreadsheet, web site and keyboard skills
  • A current driver’s licence is essential and interstate and overnight travel at short notice will be required

Eligibility Qualifications / Knowledge Required

  • A relevant degree or equivalent qualifications in biological science/botany/horticulture/agriculture
  • Experience in plant breeding; plant related research; plant taxonomy; and statistical analysis is highly desirable
  • Australian Citizenship is required

Application Requirements

To apply for this position, candidates are asked to:

  • Address each selection criteria individually (max 500 words)
  • Provide a current CV
  • Name of two referees and contact details

Please note:

  • Applications must be submitted through the IP Australia Web Recruitment system (ESS)
  • You must be an Australian Citizen to be engaged in the APS and to meet IP Australia’s security clearance requirements.

Selection Criteria

  • Demonstrated ability to work individually or in a team environment, including the ability to establish and maintain productive working relationships and to work co-operatively with a diverse range of people in an equitable manner in order to achieve organisational outcomes
  • Proven experience and a sound understanding of taxonomy; methods of evaluating and identifying plant varieties; field trials; plant breeding; statistical analyses; and biotechnology. The applicant will be expected to work effectively with a wide range of species
  • Knowledge of or the ability to quickly acquire the knowledge of the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act 1994 and an ability to comprehend and apply legal principles or the ability to quickly acquire those skills

Contact Officer

For further information pertaining to this job please contact Andrew Hallinan via Andrew.hallinan@ipaustralia.gov.au or by phone: 02 6283 2801


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: 
Friday, June 28, 2019