Associate Patent Examiner: Organic Chemistry, Biotechnology and Biochemistry at Intellectual Property Office

Expires today

Apply before 11:55 pm on Sunday 4th June 2023

Location: Newport, NP10 8QQ

Salary: £27,923 - £32,260

Working pattern: Flexible working, Full-time

Number of jobs available: 8

About the job

Job summary

Patent examining offers the unusual opportunity to combine scientific & engineering expertise with legal skills. Successful candidates will receive comprehensive training and mentoring in the legal skills required for the role. Patent Examiners combine these skills with their technical knowledge and analytical ability to determine if an invention is new and inventive and whether, or not, the application satisfies various other legal requirements.

Currently, we are looking for people who have knowledge in one of the following technical fields: 

  • Organic Chemistry, especially polymer chemistry

  • Biotechnology or Biochemistry, especially bioinformatics, biomedicines, synthetic biology, or immunology

Working Location

This role will be carried out in-line with IPO Hybrid working arrangements where staff are currently expected to attend the office 1 day per week, or equivalent if part-time, on-site at our Newport office.

We would encourage candidates to discuss working arrangements with the recruiting manager to agree a reasonable balance between working from home and the office. The requirement for attendance at an office location can vary by role but is very unlikely to be less than 1 day per week.

Job description

New Associate Patent Examiners will either be given a full-time 7-week initial training course, or trained 1-1 at the desk by an experienced line manager. This will depend on a number of factors such as whether your elected start date aligns with the initial training course start date, and whether you are joining as part of a larger cohort. Training will include seminars, practical demonstrations, coursework and associated tutorials.

The initial training course (7 weeks full time) will require 3 days a week onsite at our Newport Office. Candidates that are unable to attend the Newport office 3 days a week for the initial training course should discuss this with the recruiting manager. There may be a requirement for further onsite training as an Associate Patent Examiner.

Once the formal training period has ended, Associate Patent Examiners will begin working on live casework to continue to develop their skills and build their self-assurance to carry out the role: 

  • Search and examine patent applications against the relevant criteria, using knowledge of the law and Office procedures to bring casework to a successful conclusion (grant or refusal).

  • Communicate legally and technically complex concepts in writing and orally to internal and external audiences.

  • Build experience in your specialist technical area, but also a wider flexibility in dealing with a variety of other subject matters.

  • Manage and prioritise workloads to work to agreed quality and productivity goals.

  • Take responsibility for own development by acting on feedback, keeping technical skills up to date and developing wider behaviours where appropriate.

New Associate Patent Examiners recruited in specialist technical fields may work on simple technological subject matter to embed the legal training until ready to move on to specialist subject matter; this may take up to a year.

After 2-5 years mastering these basics of the examining job and developing a broad set of professional skills you can then apply for promotion to ‘Patent Examiner’.  At this grade you work independently while continuing to develop your skills and experience.  After a few more years of development there is non-competitive promotion to ‘Senior Patent Examiner’. Senior Patent Examiners are subject matter experts, leaders within the Patent Examining Division and mentors to the next generation of examiners.

If you would like to read more about what it’s like to work at the IPO, check out our blog At a STEM career crossroads? Take the Patent Examiner route

Person specification

Please refer to job description.


Applicants must hold least a 2:2 degree covering any of the listed areas, OR, having equivalent industrial experience in a relevant technical field (5 years or more working in an engineering role where you have had the opportunity to learn, apply and embed technical knowledge in your specialist field).

Please note: GCSE grade C or above (or equivalent) in Mathematics may also be required.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Communicating and Influencing

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Knowledge in one of the following scientific fields: Organic Chemistry, Biotechnology or Biochemistry
  • Ability to understand and evaluate scientific and technical information, making decisions and reaching conclusions quickly and accurately.

We only ask for evidence of these technical skills on your application form:

  • Knowledge in one of the following scientific fields: Organic Chemistry, Biotechnology or Biochemistry


Benefits of working with the wider IPO:

  • A very generous pension scheme with 27.1% employer contributions. Further information can be found around the benefits of joining the Civil Service can be found via the Civil Service Pension Scheme page;
  • 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;
  • The opportunity to form part of our many inclusive network groups, find out by looking at Disability JobsBME Jobs and LGBT Jobs
  • A variety of support functions including our excellent Staff Counselling Service which is a source of support for all staff at the IPO
  • A flexible working scheme which has no core hours and excellent opportunities for home, part-time and term-time working;
  • Eligibility for special and office-wide bonus payments
  • Excellent development opportunities;
  • Opportunities for secondments, both internal and external;
  • Opportunities to join many civil-service clubs such as the Sports and Social Association, Motoring Club (CSMA), which provide numerous discounts to members

When working at Concept House, Newport the following benefits are also available:

  • Free car parking is available on site;
  • On-site facilities including gymnasium, shop, restaurant

 Please note that benefits may be subject to change.

Things you need to know

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles (opens in a new window), and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Ability, Experience and Technical skills.


How to apply

Candidates to note:

  • In order to capture your employment history please complete the employment history box under the 'Your CV' section of the online application form.

  • All communications will be electronic therefore it is vitally important that you check your Civil Service Jobs account regularly, as well as your spam/junk email folder

Pre Sift Testing

The following pre sift test will need to be completed and passed before your application will be seen by the panel: 

  • Civil Service Verbal Test 

Applicants to note: 

There are no time limits for the completion of tests. 

Please ensure you complete the test with enough time to fully complete and submit your application before the closing date. 

Full instructions will be given at the start of the test. 

The deadline for completing the tests is the same as the application deadline: Sunday 04 June 2023 at 23:55.

Please ensure you leave yourself enough time to fill out the application after completing the tests.


An initial sift of applications will be carried out to create a shortlist.

This will be based on the evidence provided for the following Success Profile elements:


In the 250 word box provided, please evidence your knowledge in one of the following scientific fields detailing how you have applied and embedded your technical knowledge in practical situations, for example through research project, industrial or laboratory experience:

  • Organic Chemistry, especially polymer chemistry

  • Biotechnology or Biochemistry, especially bioinformatics, biomedicines, synthetic biology, or immunology

If you require job-specific information, please contact
Name: Stephen Brown

Diversity Statement

The IPO is an inclusive employer where diversity is respected and differences valued. Our positive approach to diversity allows us to select the most suitable applicants free from bias on factors such as age, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, and many more protected characteristics. 

If you require an adjustment at any stage of the recruitment process, then please let the recruitment team know via ;


Successful candidates must undergo a criminal record check.
People working with government assets must complete baseline personnel security standard (opens in new window) checks.

Nationality requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals

  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK

  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland

  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) (opens in a new window)

  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service

  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service

  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals

Contact point for applicants

Job contact :

  • Name :IPO Recruitment Team
  • Email

Recruitment team

  • Email