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Registration Hearings

In this policy:
  1. “Applicant” means an applicant who has applied to review a ruling made by the Registrar under College by-laws;
  2. “Agent” means an applicant registered with the College as a Patent Agent or Trademark Agent;
  3. “Committee”, means the “Registration Committee”.
  4. “Registration Panel” means a subcommittee of members chosen from the Registration Committee to consider a request to review a decision of the Registrar under section 5 of the By-Law.

POLICY

CPATA is the modern, risk-focused, public interest regulator of Canadian patent and trademark agents. Our core mandate is to protect and promote the public interest in the delivery of patent and trademark services. We regulate under the College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents Act (the Act), Regulations, By-laws, Regulatory Objectives, Standards and Principles. In doing so, we can be proactive, agile and adopt new ways of regulating toward excellence. The Registrar’s Policies support high quality regulation through modelling best practices and describe the processes by which we decide.

To establish and maintain high standards for the profession, patent and trademark agents are, among other things, required to be competent, of good character and fit to practice. Under CPATA’s College By-laws, the Registrar has authority to make determinations whether applicants for patent agent or trademark agent licenses meet the registration requirements established under the Act, Regulations and By-laws.

By-law 5 requires that the Committee established under Regulation 3 of the Act (the Registration Committee or Committee) review decisions of the Registrar on the request of the affected applicant.

The Registrar’s Policy on Review of a Registrar’s Decision sets out the policy and process for such reviews. The Review Process is conducted by the Registration Committee, or a Panel of the Committee, pursuant to the authority set out in By-laws 5-7.

If the Panel does not require further information be requested by the Registrar, and cannot, without a hearing, make a determination, it will move to conduct a written hearing. The procedures for conducting such hearings are set out below.

The Panel:

  • Considers all materials the Registrar had at its disposal when making its decision, any further information the Committee may have requested at an earlier stage from the Registrar pursuant to section 6(a) of the By-laws, and the written submissions of the Applicant and/or the Registrar, if such submissions are made, as set out below in this policy;
  • May meet in any manner, including teleconference, video conference, via email or in-person;
  • May consult external legal counsel at any stage of the hearing; and
  • Will conduct a hearing based solely on written materials.

Decisions of the Panel under this policy are made in the public interest, in a manner consistent with the Regulatory Objectives and Decision-Making Principles of the College, and the Committee’s Terms of Reference.

CPATA’s licensing process is transparent, fair, principled and proportionate1. The Registrar’s and Registration Committee’s responsibilities within this process include supporting the objects of the licensing process2.

Registration Panel:

The Panel appointed to review the Registrar’s decision will be the same Panel that conducts the hearing. If the composition of the panel changes, the Applicant will be made aware of the new panel members.

Written Hearings:

Unless otherwise determined in the public interest by the Panel, a hearing under By-law 6(c) will be conducted through written submissions.

The parties before the Registration Panel are the Applicant and the Registrar, both of whom may be, at their own expense, represented by legal counsel.

Submissions:

The parties before the Panel may provide written submissions to the Deputy Registrar to support their positions. The Deputy Registrar will provide copies of all submissions to each party, and to the Panel.

New Information:

The Registration Panel will not consider new information (or “fresh evidence”) during a written hearing. However, the Panel determines its own procedures and may modify the procedures in order to promote a fair hearing in the circumstances of the Applicant.

The following information can be included in written submissions:

  • A brief description of the matter and a clear statement of what decision the party is asking the Panel to make;
  • Relevant facts in chronological order;
  • Reference to relevant evidence previously provided to, or considered by, the Registrar; and
  • Explanation of how that relevant evidence supports the position of the party.

Review of Decisions by the Panel:

Decisions of the Panel are final. Section 7 of the College By-laws states a decision of the Committee under section 5 cannot be reviewed by the Board.

Section 8 of the College By-laws states if a decision of the Registrar is modified by the Registration Committee, the Registrar must notify the applicant and, if applicable, the supervisor, of the decision and proceed with that decision.

Publication of Decisions:

Registration hearings and subsequent Panel decisions are not public. The Panel may publish anonymized summaries of registration decisions.

PROCEDURES

  1. If a Panel of the Committee moves to conduct a hearing, the Applicant and the Registrar will be advised in writing within fifteen (15) days of the date the Panel’s decision and will include a Notice of Hearing that:

a. References the statutory authority under which the hearing is to be held;

b. States the purpose of the hearing;

c. Confirms the hearing will be conducted in writing;

d. States the deadlines for each party to file submissions; and then schedules the hearing date when all submissions have been received. Sets out the composition of the Panel;

e. Confirms that all parties are entitled to receive every document that the Panel receives in the proceeding; and

f. Provides any other information or directions the Panel considers necessary for the proper conduct of the hearing.

  1. The Applicant will have no more than 30 days from the date they are provided with the Notice of Hearing to provide a written submission or to advise they have chosen to waive their right to make submissions.
  2. Upon receipt of the Applicant’s submission and/or notice that the Applicant has chosen to waive their right to make submissions, the Registrar will have 30 days to provide a written submission to the Deputy Registrar, who will provide a copy to the Applicant.
  3. The Applicant will have 15 days to provide a submission in reply.
  4. If either party requires an extension of time to file their submissions, they must apply to the Chair. The Chair may extend the filing deadlines.
  5. Either party may waive their right to make submissions by notifying the Deputy Registrar in writing, who will notify the other party.
  6. Once the deadlines have expired for making submissions, the Deputy Registrar will schedule a meeting of the Panel, within a reasonable time, to consider the submissions and notify the parties of the date and time of the meeting.
  7. If there are any changes to the composition of the Panel, the Deputy Registrar will advise the Applicant to confirm there are no conflicts or objections.
  8. The Panel will consider the submissions of both parties, make a decision and provide reasons.
  9. The Chair will provide a copy of the Panel’s decision with reasons to the Applicant, the Registrar and the Deputy Registrar.
  10. . The Panel’s decision is final and cannot be appealed to the Board.

REFERENCES

1 Transparent reflects how we do our work, make decisions, and address license applications in the public interest Fair means obtaining and considering information in an objective, unbiased way, and making decisions that are clear, concise and consistent Principled and proportionate means applying the right ‘regulatory touch’ when balancing interests

2 The objects of the licensing process are to protect and promote the public interest and preserve the integrity of the patent and trademark profession, in a manner consistent with the College’s Regulatory Objectives, Standards and Principles.