Working for IPO

The recruitment process, workplace benefits, holiday and leave, pay, pension and conditions at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

You can apply for a job with IPO on the civil service job site.

Patent examiner roles

Patent examining offers an unusual opportunity to combine scientific and technical knowledge with legal skills.

Patent examiners scrutinise 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.

As patents are only granted for inventions which are both novel and inventive, a detailed search is needed for each application. This means using specialised databases to sift through large amounts of information. After the search, the examiner writes an in-depth analysis, reporting on the clarity of the application and legal issues.

The office deals with a wide range of subject matter, from chemical compounds to smart phones; we try to allow each examiner to work in areas appropriate to their qualifications and interests.

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Career development

You start your career as an associate patent examiner: training begins with lectures and seminars on intellectual property law and the basic skills of the examining job. Examiners quickly move 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 years to senior patent examiner. These promotions are ‘non-competitive’ - 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.

Location: Newport

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.

The City of Newport, with a population of over 137,000, has the Wetlands Reserve, Newport International Sport Village and The Celtic Manor resort, which hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup.

Cardiff, the capital city of Wales, with its top quality shopping, entertainment and visitor attractions, is only 12 miles away.

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.

Salary and working hours

Administrative staff

  • Pay span A1 - £15,822
  • Pay span A2 - £16,908
  • Pay span A3 - £17,760 - £19,185

Patent examining staff

  • Associate Patent Examiners start on the B2 pay span - £23,779 - £26,639. Pay span B2 Associate Patent Examining staff currently receive a pensionable allowance of £3,000 per annum in addition to their salary (this applies to this pay span only). This year we are offering a further £4000 allowance for those with relevant experience in telecommunications, bringing the starting salary package up to over £30000 for suitably qualified candidates.
  • The pay span for Patent Examiners is the C1 pay span – £32,800 - £37,937. Pay span C1 Patent Examining staff currently receive a pensionable allowance of £1,500 per annum in addition to their salary (this applies to this pay span only). This year we are offering a further £2000 allowance for those with relevant experience in telecommunications.
  • The pay span for Senior Patent Examiners is the C2 pay span – £51,433 - £55,057. Pay span C2 Senior Patent Examining staff currently receive a pensionable allowance of £1,500 per annum in addition to their salary (this applies to this pay span only).

All pay rates are as of 1 August 2014

Working hours

A standard working day is 7 hours and 24 minutes the working week is 37 hours excluding lunch breaks. We offer a flexible working system. You can work between 7am and 7pm and there are no core hours.

Leave

Full time staff will receive 25 days annual leave moving to 30 days in annual increments (1 day per year) over 5 years of reckonable service. You will also get 8 days public leave and 1 day privilege leave.

Workplace benefits

We offer a range of benefits, including:

  • maternity/paternity leave, special leave and unpaid career breaks
  • civil service pension scheme
  • pre-school childcare vouchers and play schemes during Easter and Summer at a lower rate
  • flexible working
  • personal development programmes and training aids in a range of subjects
  • 25 days annual leave moving to 30 days in annual increments (1 day per year) over 5 years of service
  • staff counselling service
  • free eyesight tests
  • sports and social activities
  • staff restaurant, shop, shower facilities, a hairdresser and free car parking on-site or close by

Corporate social responsibility

We are one of the largest employers in Newport and have links with local businesses and voluntary networks. We work in partnership with a number of organisations, schools and further education establishments. The following events are typical of the type of thing we get involved with:

Focus on business events

These events are specifically designed for secondary school pupils to provide them with a flavour of business. They are held throughout the year at secondary Schools within the Newport area. The IPO team assist as Business Advisors to the students, providing them with actual business advice.

Work experience visits

In partnership with Careers Wales the Office co-ordinates one week work experience placements for 15/16 year old students from local schools. Staff from selected areas work with the pupils to provide them with better knowledge and understanding of the work undertaken at the IPO. This gives them a feel of working in an actual business environment and helps them to make more informed career choices.

Right to read and number partners

The Right to Read and Number Partner initiatives are designed to support primary school children with their reading and numeracy skills. Volunteers from the Office visit two local schools and provide extra support developing the skills of the pupils. The pupils benefit by having one-to-one attention.

Princes trust programme

The aim of this programme is to help participants turn their life around, finding full time education or employment. Volunteers mentor the students in-house on application forms, mock interviews, CV writing, skills assessments and feedback sessions. The office also helps those delivering the Princes Trust programme by providing IP awareness sessions.

Mock interviews

Organised by Career Wales, these events give local secondary school pupils the opportunity to experience a mock interview situation. IPO volunteers carry out the interviews which give the students the chance to prepare for an actual interview.

Give and gain day

Give & Gain is a national employee volunteering day organised by Business in the Community (BITC) and involves the completion of a community project. The IPO team work together to plan the task; raise any funds needed and then see it through on the day. In 2014 we painted 3 classrooms in the Special Needs unit of a local secondary School. In previous years we have created healthy eating gardens for local primary schools.