Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Karl Curran from Insurance to give some advice for people considering this job:


Karl Curran

Associate Director


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  Karl Curran
I would highly recommend this job but I’d say to start taking insurance exams as soon as possible and get them done while you’re young.

I’d also recommend talking to as many people in the industry to see what area of insurance you want to go into i.e. Insurer, Broker, Loss Adjuster etc. – they’re very different!

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Patent Examiner

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At a Glance... header image

Examines patent applications and decides whether or not the patent applications should be accepted or rejected.

The Work header image

Patent applications are typically submitted to the Patents Office by professional Patent Agents (Also known as Patent Attorneys), who are qualified to advocate on behalf of their inventor/clients. The patent applications are then examined by an experienced Patent Examiner. The Patents Office in Ireland is a public sector body. Patents Examiners are employed by the state through the public sector recruitment process.

Patent Examiners investigate applications from people who want to protect their invention. They act in the world of intellectual property rights; this term covers patents, registered trademarks, registered design rights and copyright.  
The Patent Examiner's job is to make sure the application meets the requirements of patent legislation.

After reading a description of the invention and its intended uses, which may include drawings or chemical formulae, the Patent Examiner searches through patent publications to make sure the invention really is new and inventive. The government will only grant the patent if it is satisfied that it meets these criteria.

The Patent Examiner uses both United Kingdom and international patent documents in the search, as well as other technical literature and computer databases. The Examiner sends the search results to the applicant, or more often to their Patent Agent, who together must decide whether to carry on the second stage of the application.  
At the second stage, the Patent Examiner checks that the description is clear and easy for others to understand, decides if the claims are original and inventive, and carries out a much more detailed investigation of the applicant's claims. A period of correspondence between examiner and applicant (through the Patent Agent) follows, to discuss any matters raised by the examiner's findings.

Principal Examiners make the decision in cases where disputes cannot be resolved. A barrister can represent the inventor if they appeal against a rejection of their application at this stage.


Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a Patent Examiner, you will need the scientific and technical ability to analyse and interpret patent applications, including technical drawings.  
You will need an analytical mind, and must be thorough, methodical and logical when you assess applications. You must be a confident decision-maker, and able to show how you reached your decisions.  
You need to be patient and pay close attention to detail when you search for existing patents.  
You need good communication skills to work closely with Patent Agents, and to produce reports of your findings and recommendations.

Entry Routesheader image

A degree level qualification in a STEM subject area, (Science, Technology, Mathematics or any branch of Engineering), or an equivalent qualification such as membership of one of the major professional bodies.

Patent Examiners who specialise in the pharmaceuticals area typically hold PhD level qualifications.  
Patent Examiners working for the Irish Patents Office are civil service administrative officers and must meet the Public Service requirements for the role. Once appointed, you will receive on-the-job training under the supervision of an experienced Patent Examiner. Training usually lasts for 24 months and includes attending seminars and courses to gain knowledge of patent law. You will also receive training in French and German, the working languages of the European Patent Office, alongside English.

Last Updated: October, 2014

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Patent agent/examiner - from:  GradIreland

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Public Appointments Service
  Address: Chapter House, 26/30 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
  Tel: (01) 858 7400 or Locall: 1890 44 9999
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Association of Patent and Trademark Attorneys (APTMA)
  Address: c/o Tomkins & Co., 5 Dartmouth Road, Dublin 6.
  Tel: (01) 202 6700
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: European Patent Office
  Address: See website for individual location addresses
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Irish Patents Office
  Address: Government Buildings, Hebron Road, Kilkenny
  Tel: Tel: +353 (0)56 772 0111; Fax: +353 (0)56 772 0100
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Public Appointments Service
  Address: Chapter House, 26/30 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
  Tel: (01) 858 7400 or Locall: 1890 44 9999
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA)
  Address: 95 Chancery Lane London WC2A 1DT
  Tel: (0044) 20 7405 9450
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Civil & Public Service, Local Government, Politics & EU
Physical & Mathematical Sciences
Computers & ICT
Chemical, Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences

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