Patent Examiners

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Patent examiners are responsible for ensuring that patent applications received from patent attorneys conform to relevant requirements.

Patents are legal rights that are granted to the inventors of novel technical processes and commodities, securing exclusive rights to their inventions for a period of up to 20 years. Patent officers are responsible for:

  • investigating every application to determine that the invention is clearly described and appropriate for use

  • undertaking manual searches of previous publications to establish that inventions are novel

  • considering technical issues related to inventions

  • using online technical databases

  • publishing the applications together with search results

  • producing search reports and sending these to applicants/patent agents

  • liaising with applicants/agents to resolve disputed matters

  • following appeals through to their conclusion (possibly at court hearings)

Career progression is possible by changing employer, promotion into senior examiner positions or by moving into patent attorney work.


Qualifications and training required


You can only become a patent examiner if you have a relevant degree. This degree is normally in a scientific, technical or engineering subject. Pre-entry experience isn’t usually needed, although relevant patent or documentation experience is advantageous.


Key skills for patent examiners


  • Sound scientific and technical knowledge

  • Good IT skills

  • Research skills

  • Analytical skills

  • Communication skills

The ability to understand German and French is also beneficial


Typical employers of patent examiners


Patent examiners are employed by the patent offices.

Speculative applications are essential, and patent offices generally keep records of those who express an interest in working for them and inform them when suitable vacancies become available.



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Who employs Patent Examiners?

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