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;
- 25 days annual leave, moving to 30 days in annual increments (1 day per year) over 5 years of continuous service, in addition to 8 days bank holidays and 1 day 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.
Associate Patent Examiners (new starters) currently earn £25,928. Newly promoted Patent Examiners currently earn £31,402. Newly promoted Senior Patent Examiners currently earn £52,173. 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.