Working as a patent examiner

What do Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson and Caitlin Burke have in common? They have all worked as patent examiners.

Imagine the satisfaction you'll get from seeing a new product enter the market place knowing that you played a role in granting the inventor a robust patent right.

In a career as a patent examiner you'll get exposure to cutting-edge technology long before it becomes public knowledge, play an integral role in the innovation process and never have to worry about research funding again!

The workplace

A patent examiner works in an office, examining Australian and international patent applications. The role includes assessing detailed written descriptions of inventions and associated claims to determine whether the application meets the legislative requirements of the Patents Act 1990.

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

A patent examiner uses a variety of examination tools including, but not limited to, in-house and worldwide patent and technical databases, procedural manuals, legislation and their own intellectual capabilities and technical knowledge.

Training

We provide the appropriate legal and procedural training to enable a patent examiner to perform their duties effectively. The initial full-time training course is competency based, which includes formal and on-the-job training. You must complete all stages of the program successfully to meet the conditions of employment.

Qualifications

To be a patent examiner you need a recognised degree, or a diploma and appropriate industry experience. We look for specific qualities, skills and technologies during recruitment. Overseas degrees must conform to Australian professional standards and be formally recognised.

Fluency in written and spoken English is essential.

Qualities and skills

We look for people with the following qualities and skills:

  • sound technical knowledge and the ability to adapt it
  • ability to apply legal concepts
  • highly developed research, analytical and conceptual thinking
  • demonstrated ability to understand and articulate complex ideas both verbally and in writing
  • demonstrated desire for continued learning and ability to learn through feedback
  • ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • sound decision making.

Technologies

We are particularly interested in people with qualifications and experience in:

Chemical engineering

We seek engineers with a strong background in at least one of the following:

  • hydrocarbons, fuels and lubricants
  • ventilation, refrigeration, heating/cooling, air conditioning and heat exchange
  • plastics moulding
  • layered products/laminates
  • vacuum cleaners and domestic cleaning
  • filters and separation.
  • Additional expertise in the following areas is also useful:
  • batteries and fuel cells
  • pollution control, treatment and sequestration
  • solar panels and solar cells.

Chemistry, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals

We seek scientists in pure or applied chemistry, industrial chemistry, biotechnology, pharmacology, pharmaceuticals and biochemistry with a strong background in at least one of the following:

  • biochemistry and synthetic organic chemistry
  • molecular biology, immunology and cell biology. In particular, we seek those with backgrounds in genome, developmental and stem-cell biology
  • biochemical, chemical, nucleic acid, peptide and immunological analysis and assays, particularly including:
  • instrumental analysis
  • use of array techniques in analysis
  • protein/molecular screening
  • protein/molecular diagnostics
  • cell assay techniques.

Communications, computing and electrical engineering

We seek engineers or scientists in electronics, telecommunications, computer engineering, computer science and electrical engineering with a strong background in at least one of the following:

  • telecommunications, internet protocols, wireless networks, wireless protocols or electronic control systems
  • data processing, computer software, e-commerce or speech recognition
  • information storage and retrieval technologies, and computer networks
  • power engineering and/or electrical components, such as switches and connectors.

Mechanical engineering

We seek engineers in a variety of disciplines including:

  • mechanical
  • transport, including automotive and marine
  • agricultural
  • civil
  • manufacturing
  • munitions
  • mining or petroleum engineering.

Medical devices

We seek engineers or scientists with a background or an interest in medical devices, such as:

  • heart valves
  • blood pumps
  • stents
  • prostheses
  • breathing-assistance devices
  • catheters
  • syringes.

Physics

We seek physicists with a strong background in at least one of the following:

  • semiconductor devices and processing
  • optical devices and systems
  • micro/nano technology
  • measurement and sensing.

More information