CPATA recently released the initial results of the Trademark Agent Qualifying Examinations and the Patent Agent Qualifying Examinations, administered for the first time by the College in November and December of 2021. CPATA became responsible for examinations for entry into the profession after its coming-into-force, taking over this process from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO).
Examinations are the primary for the College to protect the public interest by setting competence standards to ensure entry-level practitioners have the knowledge and skills necessary to competently serve their clients. They are designed to assess the candidate’s knowledge of the applicable legislation and case law required to practise independently. They also test the candidate’s analytical, problem-solving skills, and communication skills when it comes to interactions with clients and CIPO.
CPATA’s coming-into-force date in June 2021 only provided approximately four months to develop bilingual exam content with the Exam Board members, to test it with test writers and/or the IPIC Standards Committee and to configure the online exam platform. Additionally, hundreds of Class 3 applications and exam registration forms were processed manually to give these candidates access to the Qualifying Examinations.
The 2021 Qualifying Examinations were administered virtually for the first time, using a third-party exam platform and live proctoring. Candidates throughout the country were able to complete their exams from the convenience of their homes, using an advanced system that maintained exam integrity. To support this transition, CPATA implemented a variety of measures to ensure candidates were comfortable with the technology, and able to resolve any issues with the platform and their computers before the exam date. CPATA also hosted first-ever candidate orientation sessions led by subject matter experts, providing candidates with an invaluable opportunity to ask questions and prepare for the examination.
Results for the Trademark Agent Qualifying Examinations
A total of 66 candidates wrote the TAQE. 24 candidates were successful with the TMAQE after the initial marking was completed. The global pass rate was 36%, the second highest since 2013 and 7% higher than the average global pass rate from 2013-2021. 83% of first-time writers passed the exam in 2021 as compared to 51% in 2020.
Pass Rates by Year
Average Marks (%) by Year
Results for the Patent Agent Qualifying Examinations
A total of 124 candidates wrote the PAQE. 24 candidates were successful with the PAQE after the initial marking was completed. The overall pass rate in 2021 was 21% and 2.5% higher than the average from 2005-2021. The first-try pass rate in 2021 was 8% and 4% higher than the average from 2005-2021.
Overall and First Try Pass Rate
Average Grades by Year:
Updated 2021 Qualifying Exam Results
After the initial results of the Trademark Agent Qualifying Examinations (TAQE) and the Patent Agent Qualifying Examinations (PAQE) were released, candidates were provided time to review their examination materials and request a re-correction under certain circumstances.
In addition to the review and re-correction policy and procedures followed from previous administrations, CPATA also provided candidates with reasons whenever requests for re-correction were denied. It equally supplied candidates with explanations for re-correction decisions that did not result in a successful result for the candidate. This approach is in line with CPATA’s values, as it strives to apply policies in a way that is proportionate, fair, efficient and transparent.
For the TMAQE, 15 requests for re-correction were received. 4 candidates passed the exam as a result of the re-correction; 11 candidates remained unsuccessful even after the re-correction. The final global pass rate for the 2021 TMAQE was around 42% (compared to 42% in 2020).
For the PAQE, 33 candidates submitted a request for re-correction, for a total of 44 papers reviewed. 3 candidates received a global pass as a result of the review; 30 candidates remained unsuccessful even after the re-correction. The final global pass rate for the 2021 PAQE was around 23% (compared to 37% in 2020).
Looking Forward to 2022 and Beyond
CPATA has embarked on a multi-year competency initiative to refine entry-level and continuing competencies for patent agents and trademark agents. This process will start with the development and validation of competency frameworks for agents. It will eventually lead to an enhanced qualifying examination system, starting with starting with incremental improvements to improve the defensibility of exams for 2022.