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, May 20 for Victoria Day

Licence Classes

Licence Classes

CPATA’s Licence Classes Starting May 1, 2023 

Class 1 licensees have full practice rights, including presenting and prosecuting before CIPO.  

Class 2 licensees have restricted practise rights. This means that they can do everything that a Class 1 agent can do with the exception of presenting and prosecuting before CIPO.  

Class 3 licensees are agents-in-training: an agent who is currently in training under the supervision of an approved Class 1 or Class 2 agent, or a representative of CIPO.These licensees are permitted to appear before and communicate with CIPO under the supervision of their approved Training Supervisor.  

Class 4 licensees are considered “inactive” or “non-practising, whether temporarily or permanently, and are not permitted to practise the competencies identified in the Technical Competency Profiles for Patent Agents and Trademark Agents as agents or hold themselves out as an active, practising agent.  

Professional Liability Insurance Requirements by Licence Class

Class 1: 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 2: 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). All current Class 2 licensees must complete this form before December 31, 2023 (including those who are exempt from the requirements), to provide their insurance information or declare their exemption. Licensees who have not done so will be suspended, pursuant to Section 35(1)(f) of the CPATA Act. 

Class 3: insurance is required, unless the licensee is exempt because they do not provide services to the public. 

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.

Changing Licence Class

CPATA’s Class 2 licence was initially intended to provide an option for maintaining licensure to agents who were temporarily or permanently not practising. Data from CPATA’s recent licensee survey revealed that a significant portion of class 2 licensees were involved in patent and/or trademark practice in some capacity. Several of these IP tasks carry a risk of harm to the public, and Class 2 licensees who are providing IP services to the public were previously not required to have professional liability insurance.

As of May 1, the Class 2 licence is available for agents seeking to practise as an agent but not to present and prosecute before CIPO. Class 2 licensees will need to obtain professional liability insurance meeting CPATA’s requirements by December 31, 2023. A new Class 4 licence will address inactive licensees (see below).  

New Class 4 Licence 

A new Class 4 licence has been created for agents who are inactive, meaning that they are temporarily or permanently not practising. Current Class 2 licensees who wish to remain inactive will need to change to a Class 4 licence. They will have until December 31, 2023 to apply for a Class 4 licence without paying a fee for the class change request.    

The table below summarizes the major differences that will exist between Class 2 and Class 4 licences.  

Class 2 

Class 4 

Restricted licence 

Inactive licence 

Can do everything that a Class 1 agent can do with the exception of presenting and prosecuting before CIPO. 

Are not permitted to practise the competencies identified in the Technical Competency Profiles for Patent Agents and Trademark Agents as agents or hold themselves out as an active, practising agent 

Must have adequate professional liability insurance, unless exempt because they do not work with the public. Must complete this form before December 31, 2023 (including those who are exempt from the requirements), to provide their insurance information or declare their exemption. 

Exempt from professional liability insurance  

Must undertake continuing professional development (when CPATA establishes requirements)  

Exempt from continuing professional development requirements   

$1,500 for a patent agent OR trademark agent licence / $2250 for a patent agent AND a trademark agent licence (dual licence)

$100 /licence/year fees to maintain registration (continues to receive CPATA communications and remain on the list of licensees) 

Licence Status 

An agent’s licence status refers to the current state of their licence.  

  • Active: The agent is permitted to practise according to the class of licence they hold.   
  • Suspended: The agent is not permitted to practise. There are many reasons why a licence might be suspended. The most common reason is for non-payment of fees, but licences can be suspended for other administrative reasons or disciplinary findings of incompetence or professional misconduct. You can check why an agent’s licence is suspended by reviewing their profile on our Public Register. Suspended licences (administrative) can be reinstated within a specified time period.   
  • Revoked: The agent’s licence has been taken away. There are many reasons why a licence might be revoked. The most common reason is that the licence has been in suspended status for at least 5 years, but licences can be revoked for disciplinary findings of incompetence or professional misconduct. You can check why an agent’s licence is revoked by reviewing their profile on our Public Register.  
  • Surrendered: The agent has voluntarily advised CPATA that they no longer wish to practise the profession. Common reasons for this status include retirement, leaving the profession or leaving Canada.   

FAQ

Class 4 licensees are considered “inactive”. This licence category is intended for agents who are not currently practicing, whether permanently (due to retirement, career change etc.) or temporarily (due to a sabbatical, leave of absence, etc.). Therefore, a class 4 licensee is not permitted to practise the competencies identified in the Technical Competency Profiles for Patent Agents and Trademark Agents as agents or hold themselves out as an active, practising agent. They must sign a declaration on their application to change classes confirming that they are “not practising as a patent agent or trademark agent”. If this describes your current circumstances, you have until December 31, 2023 to apply for a Class 4 licence without paying a fee for the class change request.  

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.  

As a Class 2 licensee who does not work with the public, you are exempt from professional liability requirements. That being said, you must still fill in this form by December 31, 2023 to indicate to CPATA your exemption.  
 
Licensees who have not done so will be suspended, pursuant to Section 35(1)(f) of the CPATA Act. 

Review insurance requirements 

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. 

If, as a Class 4 licensee, you indicate on your website or other marketing that you are a patent or trademark agent, you must make it clear that you are inactive (you can indicate that this is temporary and short-term if that’s the case).  

When an agent holds themselves out to the public, clients are entitled to assume that the agent has the ability and capacity to deal with all agency matters to be undertaken on the client’s behalf. (Code of Professional Conduct, Rule 1, Commentary). Further, all agent advertising must be demonstrably true, accurate and verifiable, and not misleading, confusing or deceptive or likely to mislead, confuse or deceive (Code of Professional Conduct, Part 9 Principles).