When CPATA was created as the independent public interest regulator of patent agents and trademark agents, one of the College’s main responsibilities became the administration of the qualifying examinations. At that point, entry-to-practice requirements, including the exams, had remained largely unchanged for many years, and concerns were raised by IP stakeholders about this framework due to low pass rates. CPATA began a review of the exams to ensure that they were transparent, fair, defensible and able to prepare agents-in-training for their future practice.
CPATA began by developing technical competency profiles for patent agents and trademark agents which set clear standards for the competencies and skills that patent agents and trademark agents must acquire to serve their IP clients. CPATA then began to review and redevelop the qualifying examinations starting in 2024 so that, in the most accurate and fair way possible, they test the technical knowledge and skills required for agents as established in the competency profiles. CPATA relied heavily on input from the profession in the process.
Starting in 2024, the qualifying examinations to become a patent agent or a trademark agent will be divided into the knowledge exams (to assess basic technical knowledge competencies) and the skills exams (to assess the application of that knowledge). Candidates must pass the knowledge exams to be eligible for the skills exams. The standard for demonstrating competence on the exams will be determined using best practices in standard-setting methods.
Throughout 2023, we have been preparing for the administration of the knowledge examinations in March 2024. We are now preparing the new skills examinations, which will take place for the first time in Fall 2024.
CPATA is assembling various groups of licensees to fulfil roles such as developing banks of exam questions, standard setting and helping mark the 2024 exams.