Growing Through a Supportive and 'Always-Learning' Culture 
by Yu Yang, Patent Examiner, Patent Search & Examination, IPOS International 


As a patent examiner at IPOS International, I enjoy a supportive and ‘always-learning’ working environment, where we share a common goal and are always ready to assist and learn from one another.

In an organisation with over 100 IP experts, I am delighted that both formal and informal support structures are in place to help us grow!

Organisational and peer support

Before joining IPOS International, I had only occasionally read patent documents and possessed a basic understanding of how to search or examine a patent application. IPOS International provides systematic training for fresh hires; I vividly recall the hands-on training sessions run by our consultant examiners, senior examiners and law professors, which helped me gain fundamental knowledge and skills as a patent examiner.

When IPOS International started receiving search and examination requests for applications filed in Chinese, I struggled to handle them despite being a native Chinese speaker. Thankfully, I had a strong support network that helped me quickly adapt and overcome these challenges.

Within a short time, the team developed the Chinese Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) report template and Chinese search handbooks to guide us. My consultant examiner, division lead and work buddy also had regular discussions with me to brainstorm various Chinese and English synonyms and search queries that I could use. With these useful materials and strong support, I gained confidence in handling Chinese PCT applications.

Learning never stops because life never stops teaching

As a patent examiner, I often examine applications from emerging technical fields and must stay relevant by studying related technologies. These can be as diverse as 4G/5G communications, artificial intelligence and machine learning, data security/encryption and blockchain-based FinTech. Although it can be challenging, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to examine the latest technologies and gain valuable experience in the process.

Having benefited from knowledge-sharing, I am now ‘paying it forward’ by developing technical and search handbooks to enable my peers to quickly grasp background knowledge and search tips for applications in my technological areas of expertise. Such guides are useful for conducting searches when a quick answer is needed regarding a technical concept, typical classification code or specialised database.

I am also involved in commercial searches which may have very specific requirements from the client, unlike normal search and examination jobs. While these cases are generally tougher in terms of the stringent timeline and specialised technologies, I have learnt the importance of adequately communicating with the client to fully understand their requirements, expectations, and positions.

I thoroughly enjoy my work as a patent examiner. If you also value a supportive and ‘always-learning’ culture, I welcome you to join our family!

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Yu Yang (4th from front on the right) and her team’s awesome lunch