The Intellectual Property Office
We are the United Kingdom's principal authority on intellectual property (IP) with responsibility for granting patents, registering trademarks and designs, and leading on policy for all IP including copyright.
The UK's economy thrives on innovative products and services, the use of intellectual property rights protect, define and reward creativity. There are four types of Intellectual Property;
Patents protect new technology for both products and processes. Patent owners can enjoy exclusive rights to their inventions for up to 20 years, enabling them to strike licensing deals or keep rivals at bay whilst they establish their brand. The public benefits from seeing details of inventions when published, and can use that information as a springboard for their own innovations.
Trade marks can be registered to protect the distinctive names, logos, slogans or other signs of a trader's products or services. The marks can be licensed or franchised to others, or used exclusively by the brand owner to distinguish themselves from rivals and retain the goodwill and reputation vested in their name.
Designs for products or graphic symbols can be registered so as to protect the distinctive outward appearance of a new product. Where a product's 'look' gives it market share, e.g. in fashion, domestic appliances or furniture, protecting the design is essential for dealing with 'copycats'.
Copyright is free and automatic – no registration is required.
Books, papers and magazines, music, artwork and photographs, films, television and radio programmes, software and computer games are all protected by copyright. The owner of copyright can licence copies or adaptations of the work (e.g. translations; movie rights to a book etc).
Patent Examiners scrutinise both the technical and legal aspects of a patent application, comparing the new invention against those found in patent databases, before considering whether or not to grant a patent.
Patent examining offers an unusual opportunity to combine your scientific and technical knowledge with legal skills.
As patents are only granted for inventions which are both novel and inventive, a detailed search is performed on each application. This comprises using a large number of specialised databases to sift through large amounts of information in combination with professional search skills.
After a search has been provided, an examination is performed; this includes writing an in depth discussion of any relevant documents and reporting on the clarity of the application alongside other legal issues.
The office deals with a wide range of subject matter, from chemical compounds to smart phones; we endeavour for each examiner to work in areas appropriate to their qualifications and interests.
If you want to hear what people think about the Intellectual Property Office and their roles, why not check out our video clips?
You start your career as an Associate Patent Examiner, wherein training begins with lectures and seminars on various aspects of Intellectual Property law and on the basic skills of the examining job. Examiners quickly move on to working on live applications alongside other newly recruited examiners, tutored by experienced senior examiners.
The Patent Examiner career is structured, with opportunities for promotion to Patent Examiner after 2 to 4 years and again after 5 to 9 to Senior Patent Examiner. These promotions are 'non-competitive' i.e. you are promoted when your performance reaches the required level; it is not necessary to wait for a vacancy to occur. More senior positions to Deputy Director and above are competitive however.
You get to work with us!
If working with a team of dedicated and talented experts isn't enough for you, successful candidates can expect to receive an excellent benefits package, including;
- A flexible working scheme which has no core hours and excellent opportunities for home, part-time, term-time or flexible working arrangements (job share) on top of the standard full time working;
- 26 days annual leave, which increases to 30 days after five years service, in addition to 10.5 public and privilege leave days;
- Maternity/adoption leave entitlement of 26 weeks;
- A very generous pension scheme, with low employee contributions and a generous employer contribution.
- Eligibility for special and office-wide bonus payments, as well as performance related pay;
- Excellent development opportunities across the office and Civil Service as a whole;
- Opportunities for secondments, both internal and external;
- Personal development opportunities such as language lessons;
- A staff restaurant and deli bar, shop, shower facilities, a hairdressers and free car parking on site or close by;
- Access to many civil-service benefits such as the Sports Association, Benevolent Fund (healthcare cash plan) and Motoring Club, which provide numerous discounts to members and heavily reduced purchase options for the latest Microsoft Office releases.
Patent Examiners currently earn £23,036 plus £1,500 Recruitment and Retention Allowance (RRA). Promotion to Senior Patent Examiner will lead to a salary of £50,673, plus £1,500 RRA. More senior posts are paid at Senior Civil Service rates.
Newport, South Wales
We have a small office in the heart of London, but our main office, where successful candidates will be based, is in premises on the outskirts of Newport, South Wales.
Just off junction 28 of the M4 motorway, there's easy access for motorists. However the more environmentally conscious can also benefit from excellent public transport links - we are only 3 miles from Newport train station, on a main bus route and on a national cycle route. Travel directions to our Newport Office are available.
The City of Newport, with a population of over 137,000, has a wealth of attractions, including the Wetlands Reserve, Newport International Sport Village and The Celtic Manor resort, which hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup.
If this isn't enough for you, Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, with its top quality shopping, entertainment and visitor attractions, is only 12 miles away.
For those who enjoy a more outdoors lifestyle we are right next door to the Tredegar House Country Park, to which staff even get their own access gate! The South Wales coast offers some of the best beaches and surf in the country and some of the best mountain biking centres in Europe are nearby. The Brecon Beacons are only a stone's throw away and offer some great walking, climbing and activities offered by the Great British countryside.
We currently have vacancies in the following fields: computer science, electronics, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, telecommunications, television video and image processing and semiconductors and are looking for candidates with the skills and aptitude to work in these areas.
You should have or be expecting at least a 2:2 degree or equivalent, or have relevant industrial experience at that level.
As an Examiner you need a well developed analytical ability such that you can understand and evaluate technically complex material; strong written and oral communication skills including the ability to communicate effectively with staff, senior colleagues and user interests by telephone, face to face and in writing; the ability to organise and prioritise workload which encompasses being able to manage conflicting priorities and handle a variety of tasks and targets; and be a good team player who can get on with people and use your skills and knowledge to help others.
The Patent Examiner post is defined as a non-reserve Civil Service position and applications are open to UK nationals, Commonwealth Citizens, EEA Nationals of other member states and certain non - EEA family members. Further information on nationality requirements can be found on the civil service website .
We are currently undergoing a rolling recruitment campaign, there are no specific deadlines and all applications will be considered as and when they are received.
Our training programme will commence in September 2013; alternatively there may be the opportunity for graduates and professionals to start at an earlier, mutually agreed date. If this is not convenient we'd still like to hear from you.
Please send completed forms via e-mail or by post to the following address;
Intellectual Property Office
Check out our Patent Examiner careers booklet (366Kb).
Alternatively, if you have any specific questions, or just want to know a little more about the role before applying, then get in touch.
Ring us on 01633 813766 or contact us via e-mail.
The Civil Service is committed to providing services which embrace diversity and which promote equality of opportunity. We also offer a guaranteed interview scheme for disabled applicants who meet our minimum selection criteria.
We will not tolerate discrimination on any of the following: gender, marital status, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, religion, age, disability, HIV positivity, working pattern, caring responsibilities, trade union activity or political beliefs - or any other grounds.