What it does: Administers Australia’s IP rights
Staff stats: Around 1100
The good bits: Flexible working arrangements
The not so good bits: Lots of time at your desk
The IP Australia story
IP Australia administers Australia’s intellectual property (IP) rights system, specifically trade marks, patents, designs and plant breeder’s rights. The department began as the Australian Patent Office in 1904, expanding to cover trade marks in 1906 and design rights in 1907.
Today, IP Australia receives many thousands of applications every year for patents, trademarks and designs and plant breeder's rights. It administers intellectual property rights and their vision is to have a world leading IP system that builds prosperity for Australia.
IP Australia falls within the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science but operate independently of the Department on financial matters and with some degree of autonomy.
IP Australia encourage work-life balance, which means that while you work hard, there is also flexibility for you to spend time doing the things you like to do, outside of work. They provide equal opportunity to employees through their Workplace Diversity Program. It also has a Multicultural Plan, AccessAbility Action Plan, and encourages applications from Indigenous people.
IP Australia is also focussing on becoming an employer of choice with their Reconciliation Action Plan. These plans encourage the recruitment, and career development, of staff who are female, disabled or Indigenous. The agency wants to drive a workplace culture that is flexible by default, where everyone has access to some form of flexible working solution, including the ability to work from home.
IP Australia has a zero-tolerance policy on harassment, discrimination and workplace bullying. It has a silver membership with the Australian Network on Disability. It also has accreditation as a White Ribbon Workplace (i.e. one taking active steps to stop violence against women). It celebrates events such as NAIDOC week.
As a graduate with IP Australia, you’ll have a role in helping ensure Australians are appropriately rewarded for their great ideas and discoveries. IP Australia provides staff with paid leave to fulfill Australian Defence Force Reserve or Cadet Force obligations and to perform activities for eligible community service organisations.
The recruitment process
If you want to work at IP Australia you’ll need to be an Australian citizen willing to be based in Canberra, at least initially. If you want to become a patent examiner, you’ll need a degree in engineering or science. You’ll be particularly well placed if you have a background in chemical, computing, electrical or mechanical engineering, or biotech, chemistry, medical devices, pharmaceuticals or physics. Grads from all disciplines can be a good fit for trademark and design examination roles.
Whatever role you aspire to, IP Australia wants grads who can work both independently and collaboratively, respond positively to constructive feedback, make good decisions and learn continually.
Would-be patent examiners need to demonstrate sound technical knowledge, an ability to use legal concepts and an understanding of, and ability to articulate, complex ideas. Would-be trademark examiners need to show they can meet deadlines, respond well to change and communicate well, as well as displaying sound research, analysis and comprehension skills.
The recruitment process begins with an application submitted through the Web Recruitment system. This application needs to include your qualifications, academic transcript, thesis abstract (if you’ve completed a thesis), job history, citizenship status and responses to questions included on the application form.
The process contains a number of steps, including psychometric testing and small phone/video questionnaires and interviews. These are designed to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your verbal and interpersonal skills, as well as your ability to process new information, think analytically, observe detail and communicate clearly and precisely. If you make it through all that, and your references check out, you’ll receive an offer.
Once successful, IP Australia grads participate in formal and on-the-job training to acquire the legal and procedural skills they need. Those in the patent examiner stream scrutinise written descriptions of inventions and associated claims to assess whether the application satisfies the legislative criteria of the Patents Act 1990. Those in the trademark examiner stream assess trademark applications to determine if they satisfy requirements for registration according to the Trade Marks Act 1995.
Grads’ starting salaries are just over $64,000 for trade mark examiners, and just over $74,000 for patent examiners, in line with the IP Australia Enterprise Agreement. This being the public service, you’ll also get generous superannuation and leave provisions. IP Australia also provides staff with access to health and wellbeing programs, study assistance and flexible work options.
IP Australia offer professional development such as leadership programs, talent management, study assistance and in-house training programs. After successfully completing training, grads can progress to management roles and move to other areas within IP and within the wider intellectual property-regulation system. There are also opportunities to transition into roles in other departments of the Australian Public Service.
The vibe of the place
IP Australia’s Woden headquarters are slated for a multi-million dollar refurbishment, but the office already has its drawcards. These include an on-site café, on-site parking, secure bicycle racks and shower/change facilities. As an IP Australia staffer, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to participate in social activities and team sports. The office dress code is relaxed and you should find your colleagues welcoming and your managers supportive.
Star rating: 4.4
From the Employer:
"At IP Australia we have a passion for bright ideas. We also have a passion for smart, talented people and giving them opportunities to go further.
We are responsible for administering intellectual property (IP) rights in Australia. This includes protecting inventions through patents, logos and brands through trade marks, the appearance of products through designs, and new plant varieties through plant breeder’s rights.
Join our team
IP Australia recruits graduates from all disciplines. Typically engineering and science graduates work in our patent examination teams, while graduates from all disciplines are well suited to our trade mark and design examination teams.
As an examiner you will have a role which is crucial to our work and you will be supported with the tools and knowledge to lead a rewarding IP career. All our examiners receive comprehensive training, and as you progress through your development program, your salary progresses too.
We also recruit graduates for corporate roles including finance, communication, legal, IT, economics and human resources. These areas provide key support to our business and operations.
At IP Australia our people are diverse in culture, skills and background, and we are proud of this diversity. We actively work to foster an inclusive workplace. We offer competitive salaries, flexible working and leave conditions, and ongoing on-the-job training and development opportunities to grow your career.
Together our examination and corporate roles work to enable and protect Australia’s innovation system. We can see you in our world. Can you?
Explore your opportunities, visit our website.
Areas of specialisation:
- chemical engineering
- chemistry biotechnology and pharmaceuticals
- communications, computing and electrical engineering
- mechanical engineering
- medical devices
- physics, and