Regulation of the IP Profession in Canada finally on the books

The Canadian Government introduced on 29 October a Bill (C-86) which is expected to be enacted in the near future.  In addition to including a plethora of other legislative changes, the Bill will formally enact the College of Patent and Trademark Agents Act.

For almost a century, there has been a professional association (Intellectual Property Institute of Canada) for  patent & trade mark agents and lawyers practising in all areas of intellectual property, however, the professional conduct for patent and trade mark agents is largely unregulated.

The new Act creates a supervisory body similar to the Trans-Tasman IP Board for Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys in Australia (and Patent Attorneys in New Zealand), as well as a Code of Conduct.

The Act contains rules and regulations for obtaining a patent agent licence and a trade mark agent licence, and also sets out the professional conduct and competence standards that these licensed agents will need to meet and maintain.

The College will have two committees:

  1. Investigations Committee: set-up to receives and investigate complaints relating to licensees
  2. Discipline Committee: can impose disciplinary measures if a licensee commits professional misconduct or is incompetent.  These measures include suspension or revocation of licensees under certain conditions.

The Act also includes provisions that make it an offence to claim to be a patent agent or trade mark agent if not licensed.

Overall, the changes in regulation will assist individuals and businesses in the selection of suitably qualified and competent agents to handle their IP in Canada.

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