Senior Patent Examiner

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Tēnei tūranga – About the role

The Senior Patent Examiner role primarily involves the examination of patent applications under the Patents Act 2013, the Patents Act 1953, and associated Regulations.  Examination includes application of the relevant patent practices and policies, case law and international treaties.

The Senior role has a strong emphasis on knowledge leadership on matters relating to the application of patent law, examination practice and processes in your technical field, and Senior examiners are generally tasked with training and coaching the most junior examiners.  The role therefore contributes significantly to supporting the Team Leaders and Manager in building overall performance and capability within the team, ensuring statutory and regulatory compliance, and providing effective client service.

The role may also involve the examination of applications for Designs under the Designs Act 1953 and Designs Regulations 1954.

Ngā herenga – Requirements of the role

Personal specifications

A proven track record of experience and achievement in:

  • Ability to understand and apply relevant Patents & Design legislation.
  • Ability to use specialist proprietary databases and to quickly assess relevance of complex information.
  • Technical expertise and leadership.
  • Strong ability to coach and mentor examiners.
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Emotional intelligence.
  • Effective decision making and time management skills.


  • Relevant tertiary qualification in science or technology, or extensive and comparable relevant experience.
  • Must have the legal right to live and work in New Zealand.

Takohanga tuhinga o mua – Key accountabilities and deliverables


  • Examination meets agreed quantity and quality standards and complies with business processes.
  • Use of the IPONZ case management facility and other examination tools, such as subject matter search tools and databases.
  • Liaising with applicants and agents and the Patents Māori Advisory Committee, developing and maintaining effective relationships.
  • Ensure quality information on patents and patent applications is provided for the patent register, including the journal, and other related functions.
  • Provide advice, guidance and address matters relating to the registration of designs where required.
  • Prioritise own work queue to ensure timely completion of allocated work.
  • Maintain personal knowledge of patent law, technical knowledge and/or area of expertise, and IPONZ systems and processes.
  • Independent examination of technically or legally complex patent applications, to assess compliance with the Patents Act 1953, the Patents Regulations 1954, the Patents Act 2013 and the Patent Regulations 2014, in accordance with the delegated functions of the Commissioner (Patents Act 2013, sections 218 & 220), including:
    • Identification and searching of the prior art base.
    • Drafting and issuing examination reports.
    • Assessing responses to examination reports (including proposed amendments and arguments).
    • Proposing acceptance and accepting applications independently.
    • Classification of subject matter.
    • Re-examination.

Support capability development

  • Ensure that current knowledge of intellectual property case law, policy and practice is readily shared across the team.
  • Provide everyday coaching, quality assurance checking, feedback and follow-up to examiners to support their development, and communicate feedback to Team Leaders to support career progression.
  • Assist examiners in their workflow management, and communicate workflow risks to team leaders.
  • Actively contribute to, and participate in, developing and expanding technical knowledge and capability across the team, by delivering training and developing own skills to be able to provide advice and support to assist examiners to resolve complex technical issues.
  • Contribute to the continuous general review of examination practice, processes and policies, including collaborating in the review and drafting of guidelines to ensure currency and accuracy.
  • Contribute to the preparation and maintenance of examination manual materials, technical guidelines, policies, and office practices.

Personal Leadership

  • Lead, coach and motivate examiners and support the Team Leader and Manager in assessing individual performance and training needs.
  • Encourage quality, on-going learning and knowledge sharing within the team and providing formal structured and informal training.
  • Model the desired values and culture of MBIE and positive leadership behaviours.
  • Work co-operatively and effectively to achieve the teams and IPONZ goals.
  • Participate in team discussions; raise issues in appropriate forums and in an appropriate manner, and assist in the identification of solutions and resolutions.
  • Ensure communications with stakeholders are effective and appropriate.

Contribution to quality processes and outcomes

  • Maintain the quality management systems to ensure the examination teams are meeting the agreed quality, consistency and timeframe standards, and meeting required outputs and business objectives.
  • Contribute to the maintenance and review of systems and processes to maintain effective service delivery by actively monitoring and providing feedback on the effectiveness.

Wellbeing, health & safety

  • Displays commitment through actively supporting all safety and wellbeing initiatives.
  • Ensures own and others safety at all times.
  • Complies with relevant safety and wellbeing policies, procedures, safe systems of work and event reporting.
  • Reports all incidents/accidents, including near misses in a timely fashion.
  • Is involved in health and safety through participation and consultation.

Tō tūranga i roto i te Manatū – Your place in the Ministry

The Senior Patent Examiner position reports into a Team Leader, Patents in IPONZ, in the Business & Consumer branch. The branch sits within the Te Whakatairanga Service Delivery group.

More information about MBIE’s structure

To mātou aronga – What we do for Aotearoa New Zealand

Hīkina Whakatutuki is the te reo Māori name for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. Hīkina means to uplift. Whakatutuki means to move forward, to make successful. Our name speaks to our purpose, Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for All.

To Grow Aotearoa New Zealand for All, we put people at the heart of our mahi. Based on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi, we are committed to upholding authentic partnerships with Māori.

As agile public service leaders, we use our breadth and experience to navigate the ever-changing world. We are service providers, policy makers, investors and regulators. We engage with diverse communities, businesses and regions. Our work touches on the daily lives of New Zealanders. We grow opportunities (Puāwai), guard and protect (Kaihāpai) and innovate and navigate towards a better future (Auaha).

Ngā matatau – Our competencies

Cultivates innovation We create new and better ways for the organisation to be successful by challenging the status quo generating new and creative ideas and translating them into workable solutions.

Nimble learning We are curious and actively learn through experimentation when tackling new problems by learning as we go when facing new situations and challenges.

Customer focus We build strong customer relationships and deliver customer-centric solutions by listening and gaining insights into the needs of the communities we serve and actively seeking and responding to feedback.

Decision quality We make quality and timely decisions that shape the future for our communities and keep the organisation moving forward by relying on an appropriate mix of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgement to make valid and reliable decisions.

Action oriented We step up, taking on new opportunities and tough challenges with purpose, urgency and discipline by taking responsibility, ownership and action on challenges, and being accountable for the results.

Collaborates We connect, working together to build partnerships with our communities, working collaboratively to meet shared objectives by gaining trust and support of others; actively seeking the views, experiences, and opinions of others and by working co-operatively with others across MBIE, the public sector and external stakeholder groups.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

As an agency of the public service, MBIE has a responsibility to contribute to the Crown meeting its obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Te Tiriti). Meeting our commitment to Te Tiriti will contribute towards us realising the overall aims of Te Ara Amiorangi – Our Path, Our Direction, and achieve the outcome of Growing New Zealand for All. The principles of Te Tiriti - including partnership, good faith, and active protection – are at the core of our work. MBIE is committed to delivering on our obligations as a Treaty partner with authenticity and integrity and to enable Māori interests. We are committed to ensuring that MBIE is well placed to meet our obligations under the Public Service Act 2020 (Te Ao Tūmatanui) to support the Crown in strengthening the Māori/Crown Relationship under the Treaty and to build MBIE’s capability, capacity and cultural intelligence to deliver this.

Mahi i roto i te Ratonga Tūmatanui – Working in the public service

Ka mahitahi mātou o te ratonga tūmatanui kia hei painga mō ngā tāngata o Aotearoa i āianei, ā, hei ngā rā ki tua hoki. He kawenga tino whaitake tā mātou hei tautoko i te Karauna i runga i āna hononga ki a ngāi Māori i raro i te Tiriti o Waitangi. Ka tautoko mātou i te kāwanatanga manapori. Ka whakakotahingia mātou e te wairua whakarato ki ō mātou hapori, ā, e arahina ana mātou e ngā mātāpono me ngā tikanga matua o te ratonga tūmatanui i roto i ā mātou mahi.

In the public service we work collectively to make a meaningful difference for New Zealanders now and in the future. We have an important role in supporting the Crown in its relationships with Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi. We support democratic government. We are unified by a spirit of service to our communities and guided by the core principles and values of the public service in our work.

What does it mean to work in Aotearoa New Zealand’s Public Service?(external link) — Te Kawa Mataaho The Public Service Commission

MBIE value: Māia - Bold & brave, Pae Kahurangi - Build our future, Mahi Tahi - Better together, Pono Me Te Tika - Own it