What is CPATA?
The College of Patent and Trademark Agents (CPATA) is the independent public interest regulator of Patent and Trademark agents in Canada.
If someone wants to hold themself out as a patent or trademark agent, or to act on behalf of clients in dealing with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (where patents and trademarks are registered), they must be a licensee of the College. It is unique as a national regulator; there are no provincial regulators of patent and trademark agents.
What does CPATA do?
- We ensure people entering the profession meet our standards for professional competence and ethics. To do that we:
- Set competency standards for those who want to be licensed as an agent
- Require trainee agents to work with an experienced agent for two years, and
- Pass an examination to ensure the applicant meets our entry level competence standards
- We then issue a patent or trademark license and require that the license be renewed each year. License fees fund our operations.
- We set ethical and practice standards for agents and enforce them through a variety of techniques, including advisory and support services, and a complaints and discipline system if necessary.
- Once fully operational, we will require licensees to have mandatory professional liability insurance, and we will require them to take appropriate steps to demonstrate they remain competent.
- We also to plan to work with the profession to encourage equity and diversity in the profession, to make the services of agents more widely available to support innovation in the Canadian economy, and to support innovation in the way patent and trademark agents do their work, and the way intellectual property rights are protected in Canada
Why an Independent Regulator?
When the Government of Canada articulated the need for a new independent regulator for IP professionals it said:
By helping inventors secure exclusive Intellectual Property (IP) rights, IP agents are a key component of the innovation ecosystem. To that end, entrepreneurs must have confidence in IP professionals and the services they provide. A modern values and ethics framework would set standards for client expectations and ensure agents respect privilege, meet professional & ethical standards, and are accountable.
In June 2015, Bill C-59 granted a statutory privilege to protect communications between intellectual property (IP) agents and their clients. The privilege provision came into force in June 2016.
To advance its role as a risk-focused, modern public interest regulator, the College has adopted these Regulatory Objectives:
- We protect and promote the public interest in patent and trademark services.
- We protect those who use patent and trademark services.
- We promote innovation in the delivery of patent and trademark services and the protection of intellectual property rights.
- We improve access to and promote competition in the provision of patent and trademark services.
- We promote the independence of the patent and trademark profession.
- We ensure Licensees deliver patent and trademark services ethically and competently.
- We promote equity, diversity and inclusion in the patent and trademark profession and in the delivery of patent and trademark services.
The College is responsible to protect the public’s interest in the work undertaken by patent and trademark agents by:
- Setting competence standards for the profession and administering entry requirements that address those standards;
- Implementing the Code of Professional Conduct adopted by the Minister;
- Administering a fair and open process to respond to concerns about the competence or conduct of agents;
- Establishing expectations for liability insurance, continuing professional development and pro bono requirements;
- Promoting innovation in the delivery of patent and trademark services.