The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) offers exciting job opportunities that are both interesting and challenging, as well as possibilities for career development.
Begin a new and captivating career
As part of CIPO's Patent Office, you will join a group of professionals with unparalleled expertise in various areas. Your responsibilities will involve activities aimed at serving Canadians with excellent intellectual property services.
What is a patent examiner?
Patent examiners are highly trained engineers and scientists from across Canada who search and examine applications for patents. Fully trained examiners are highly autonomous with mastery of their technical field and of the Patent Act and Rules.
- Patent examiners read and analyze patent applications.
- They examine the written descriptions of the inventions.
- They search relevant technologies to compare with similar prior inventions using various databases (example: 3D printer).
- They determine if the patent applications comply with the Patent Act and Patent Rules.
- They communicate with the applicant or the applicant's patent agent if their application does not comply with the Patent Act and Patent Rules.
- They consider responses from the applicant or the applicant's patent agent.
- They recommend or refuse the grant of a patent.
Hear what some of our examiners have to say about the benefits of working at CIPO.
There are many benefits to being a patent examiner. We offer challenging and highly engaging work, a competitive salary, and industry leading programs such as flexible work hours, excellent training and a modern telework program. We are located in the beautiful National Capital Region just steps away from world-class museums, cultural institutions and an amazing variety of indoor and outdoor recreation possibilities. Federal government employees also have access to a wide range of benefits, detailed below.
The entry level for patent examiners is at the SG-PAT-3 level ($77,200 to $94,918).
For more information, please refer to the annual rates of pay for patent examiners, specifically under the section "SG - Patent Examination Group / Annual Rates of Pay."
Flexible work hours
All CIPO employees can take advantage of flexible work hours. Once you've completed the two-year training period and with the approval of your section head, you'll also be able to adopt a flexible work week and/or work at home.
Public servant benefits
The Federal Government offers a wide range of benefits for its employees. These include:
- a pension plan
- life insurance
- disability insurance which provides for a monthly income benefit for employees who are unable to work for a lengthy period of time due to a disabling illness or injury
- a dental care plan for employees and their families
- sick leave benefits
- vacation leave
- maternity leave
- parental leave
- family-related leave
Robust training program
New patent examiners are faced with a unique employment environment that requires a sustained and viable training program. The Patent Examiner Training Program provides them with the specific knowledge, abilities, and skills needed to perform the duties of the position and ensures quality and timely service to our clients. The training program length and probationary period is two years.
Formal training for new examiners comprises courses covering:
- orientation, overview, the basic components of a patent application, and the classification of patents;
- the Patent Act and Patent Rules, basic patent examination practices, and writing an examiner's report;
- complex patent prosecution practices;
- court proceedings, and jurisprudence.
In addition, on-the-job training and self-development is included in the training program.
During the first three months with CIPO, new trainees must complete courses 1 and 2 in a formal classroom setting and must subsequently pass the exams that cover this material. If successful, trainees are assigned on-the-job trainers (SG-PAT-05) for the next nine months, during which time they are required to work on patent applications of a particular subject matter specifically determined by the Section Head (SG-PAT-06).
During this period, the trainer and section head review all of the trainee's work.
At the 13- or 14-month point, trainees return to the classroom for a period of one month in order to complete courses 3 and 4, and must then successfully pass the exams related to this material. Upon completion of this portion of the training, trainees continue under the guidance and tutelage of the trainer until the end of the two year training period. At the end of the training period it is expected that they meet the required standards of the SG-PAT-04 level and if so, they are promoted and the probationary period ends.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is a special operating agency of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. As the Canadian authority on IP, we are responsible for administering Canada's system of intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies.
Our expertise and robust IP system stimulate an innovative and creative Canada, one that benefits from the advancement and protection of new knowledge, technology and design. CIPO is roughly 1000 employees strong, and is located in Gatineau, Quebec, within sight of the Parliament buildings.
We are an organization that is focused on its people. To this effect, CIPO supports its staff through competitive salaries and benefits, flexible work schedules, ongoing training, and a culture of respect and continuous improvement.
Within the Patent Branch, we have approximately 375 patent examiners specializing in disciplines relating to biotechnology, general and organic chemistry, and mechanical and electrical engineering. We read and analyze inventions described in patent applications. We search technical databases to ascertain how the invention improves upon the state of the art. We communicate with the applicant, or their patent agent, outlining our analysis and whatever defects need to be corrected before the patent can be approved.
CIPO is proud to offer an organization which fosters the use of both French and English. As a new employee, you can expect a fully bilingual work environment, which includes your work tools, your ongoing training, and speaking to your manager in the language of your choice. Although the language of the patent applications will be mostly in English, the language you ultimately choose to work in will be entirely up to you! And for those who are not yet bilingual, you may choose to access our Official Languages Development Program upon completion of your initial training.
Become a patent examiner
If you are an autonomous worker with a capacity for understanding how inventions work, strong technical writing skills, and a willingness to learn about intellectual property regulations, then please consider joining us!
Do I have to identify if I am a member of a visible minority group or a person with a disability?
While self-identification is not mandatory, you are encouraged to do so. CIPO is committed to having a workforce that is representative of the Canadian public. Self-identification is the only way CIPO can determine whether or not it is meeting its employment equity objectives.
Do I need to be bilingual?
As approximately 96% of our examination workload is in English, all entry-level patent examiner positions are typically designated English essential. Bilingualism is always an asset and we encourage candidates who can work in French as well as English to apply as there may be some additional bilingual entry-level positions available.
Do I have to work weekends or travel for extended periods of time?
Overtime work is on a voluntary basis. We do not expect you to work overtime if you do not want to. The patent examiners who are involved with projects outside patent examination work might be expected to travel, and again, this is done on a voluntary basis.
I have applied to CIPO. How long before I get a response?
We thank all those who apply, however only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.
If I am offered and accept a position, would CIPO pay for my relocation if I reside elsewhere in Canada?
If you are offered a position, relocation assistance may be provided if this is a first appointment in the Public Service.
When would I be expected to report to work, if I am successful?
Your reporting date may be negotiable and would depend upon such factors as relocation considerations, obtaining the necessary security clearance, training schedule, etc. Security clearance can take several days.