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

They tend to specialise in certain areas such as electrical goods.

What does a patent examiner do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

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. In the UK, patents are granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office.

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.

Typical employers of patent examiners

Patent examiners are employed by the patent offices. Opportunities are advertised online, in newspapers and in scientific or technical publications such as New Scientist and its respective website.

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.

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: the European Patent Office requires candidates to be able to understand at least one of the two languages. Language training is usually available for successful candidates once in employment.

Supported by

This describes editorially independent and objective content, written and edited by the GTI content team, with which the organisation would like to be associated and has provided some funding in order to be so. Any external contributors featuring in the article are independent from the supporter organisation and contributions are in line with our non-advertorial policy.

Advertising feature by

This describes content that has been written and edited in close collaboration with the organisation, who has funded the feature; it is advertising. We are committed to upholding our ethical values of transparency and honesty when dealing with students and feel that this is the best way not to deceive consumers of our content. The content will be written by GTI editors, but the organisation will have had input into the messaging, provided knowledge and contributors and approved the content.

In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.

Did you know that members with full profiles are more likely to get direct messages from employers?

Don't miss this great opportunity. Register now