CPATA’s offices will be closed December 25 to January 1 inclusively for the holidays.

Please note that CPATA’s offices will be closed on Monday, February 19 for Family Day

In most Canadian regulated professions where services are offered to clients, professional liability insurance is a staple. The College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents Act includes a legislative requirement for licensees to hold professional liability insurance, which CPATA must enforce. Insurance is a primary way in which CPATA can protect the public interest, as it protects the client in situations where errors and omissions on the part of the agent result in financial loss for clients. It also offers a benefit to the agent and their colleagues by ensuring that resources are available to defend the agent and redress damages. 

Professional Liability Insurance Requirements by Licence Class

Class 1, 2 and 3: Insurance is required, unless the licensee is exempt because they do not provide services to the public (for example because they are an in-house practitioner). 

Class 4: Insurance is not required. 

Licensees who do not provide services to the public (for example in-house practitioners) are exempt from professional liability insurance requirements, regardless of whether they are a class 1, 2 or 3 licensee. Licensees can be covered by their own policy or that of their employer or supervisor. 

Policy Requirements

Professional liability insurance must meet the following requirements: 

  • it must be issued by a company licensed in Canada;   
  • it must cover claims made in and outside Canada;   
  • it must indemnify the licensee for any civil liability that arises from the licensee acting as a patent agent or trademark agent;   
  • it must have coverage limits of a minimum of $1 million per claim and $2 million aggregate per year.  

Providing or Updating Your Insurance Information

Licensees must provide up-to-date insurance information to CPATA and will be prompted to report on insurance during the annual licence renewal process each year.  

Fill in the Insurance Information Form below if: 

  • your insurance information changes at another point during the year for any reason (including an employment change)   

FAQ

In most Canadian regulated professions where services are offered to clients, professional liability insurance is a staple. The College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents Act includes a legislative requirement for licensees to hold professional liability insurance, which CPATA must enforce. Insurance is a primary way in which CPATA can protect the public interest, as it protects the client in situations where errors and omissions on the part of the agent result in financial loss for clients. It also offers a benefit to the agent and their colleagues by ensuring that resources are available to defend the agent and redress damages.   

CPATA took a risk-based approach to insurance and consulted industry experts and practitioners in the process of establishing requirements.  

The College hired an independent risk management and actuarial consulting firm to perform an analysis and make recommendations. Axxima included in this review the UK regulator of P&T attorneys, and the most widely available commercial insurance programs for P&T agents in Canada and the UK. They made 16 recommendations regarding insurance to CPATA in this report 

In July 2021, CPATA published a consultation paper outlining its proposed approach to the insurance requirement. Some licensees engaged with the details of the proposal, before the CPATA Board of Directors made its ultimate decision. Out of 16 insurance requirements the firm suggested, CPATA only selected 4, taking as light a touch as possible to minimize the burdens to practitioners, and ultimately clients. 

CPATA also only required licensees with a higher risk to have insurance, namely class 1, 2 or class 3 licensees who provide services to the public. It excluded those who work in government or as in-house agents.  

No. Licensees who do not provide services to the public (for example in-house practitioners) are exempt from professional liability insurance requirements, regardless of whether they are a Class 1, 2 or 3 licensee.  

As of December 31, 2023, Class 2 licensees are required to have professional liability insurance if they  are currently practicing.

In considering the requirements for coverage, the CPATA Board of Directors was mindful of approaches adopted in the United Kingdom, which recognize that IP practice is global. 

Typical Canadian patent and trademark agency practice, unlike legal practice, involves extraterritorial aspects because clients often seek foreign patent and trademark protection and rely on their Canadian agent to access foreign legal regimes. While Canadian agents often retain and instruct foreign associates on behalf of their clients, it is naïve to assume that agents merely act as a conduit for communications between their clients and foreign associates . For example, Canadian agents advise clients in defining the scope of trademark and patent rights to be protected in other countries, and assist in the filing of applications defining those rights, whether by instructing foreign associates or by filing applications that extend rights into other countries

Because of this, the Board determined insurance coverage must cover claims wherever they are made. The Board recognized when a Canadian agent gives advice to a Canadian client, that advice will implicate non-Canadian law because of the reach of the rights involved. 

CPATA is aware of the following insurance providers which offer coverage that may meet CPATA’s requirements: 

  • Canada Lawyers Insurance Association (CLIA) – except for lawyers in Alberta 
  • Canadian Lawyers Liability Assurance Society (CLLAS) 
  • Chambre des notaires du Québec 
  • Coalition Insurance 
  • Fonds d’assurance responsabilité professionnelle du Barreau du Québec 
  • Intact 
  • Lawyers Indemnity Fund 
  • MAGNES Program offered through IPIC
  • Sovereign Insurance 
  • Victor Canada 
  • XL Specialty Insurance Company 

CPATA contracted Axxima, an independent risk/insurance and actuarial consulting firm, to conduct an in-depth analysis of the five law society insurance program. Read the full report hereSince then, the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association coverage has been extended to meet the College’s requirements.

Law Society Insurance Programs that DO meet the College’s requirements: 

  • Fonds d’assurance responsabilité professionnelle du Barreau du Québec (Barreau) 
  • British Columbia Lawyers Indemnity Fund (LIF) 
  • Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association (CLIA) – except for lawyers in Alberta  

Law Society Insurance Programs that DO NOT meet the College’s requirements: 

  • Lawyers Professional Indemnity Company (LawPRO) 
  • Alberta Lawyers Indemnity Association (ALIA) 

In addition to the professional liability insurance required by CPATA, licensees should understand and evaluate professional and personal risks relevant to their practice and consider what insurance coverage may be prudent. This can include protection in case of cyberattacks, data theft, business interruptions, personal illness, property damage, employment litigation and more. Read more in this article.

Licensees who do not provide services to the public (for example in-house pracitioners) are exempt from professional liability insurance requirements, regardless of whether they are a Class 1, 2 or 3 licensee.   

Licensees who work with the public need to have insurance because this work carries inherent risks, regardless of whether you are representing clients before CIPO. Mistakes can happen, and insurance is a key way in which CPATA protects the public.