2021−2022 Annual Report
About CIPO

CIPO is a special operating agency of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and is responsible for administering and processing IP in Canada. We have more than 1,000 employees and operate under a revolving fund authority. Our accountabilities are maintained through this annual report to Parliament as well as an annual private-sector financial audit and our client service standards.

On this page:

Areas of activity


A patent is a legal right to prevent others from making, using or selling an invention for up to 20 years. The invention can be:

  • a product (e.g. a door lock)
  • a chemical composition
    (e.g. a chemical composition used in lubricants for door locks)
  • a machine (e.g. a machine that makes door locks)
  • a process (e.g. a method for making door locks)
  • an improvement on any of these


A trademark is used to distinguish the goods or services of a person or an organization from those of others. It can be any of the following, or a combination thereof:

  • words
  • designs
  • tastes
  • textures
  • moving images
  • modes of packaging
  • holograms
  • sounds
  • scents
  • three-dimensional shapes and colours

A registered trademark provides exclusive rights to use the trademark for 10 years (a term that is renewable) and protects it under the law from misuse by others.

Industrial designs

An industrial design comprises the visual features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament, or any combination of these features applied to a finished article. In other words, it is about how something looks. An industrial design registration provides exclusive rights for up to 15 years and protects a product's unique appearance.


Copyright is the exclusive legal right to produce, reproduce, sell, license, publish or perform any of the following, as long as it is an original:

  • literary work
  • artistic work
  • dramatic work
  • musical work
  • sound recording
  • communication signal
  • performance

Unlike other IP rights, a copyright subsists in an original work from the moment it is created. As of , the general duration of copyright protection is life of the author, plus 70 years after their death, up from 50 years. In Canada, a certificate of registration of copyright is evidence that copyright exists and that the person registered is the owner.

Geographical indications

A geographical indication is used on a product (i.e. wine, spirits, agricultural products, food) that has a specific geographical origin and possesses qualities or a reputation attributable to that origin. The term of protection for a geographical indication is indefinite.

Business priorities

CIPO's 2017–2022 Five-Year Business Strategy articulates a clear vision of how we can contribute to Canada's innovation and economic success, lays out the results we seek to achieve for our clients and shows where we want to be as an organization.

Advance innovation

through a modern IP framework and active international collaboration

Deliver quality and timely IP rights

based on modern, efficient and quality-based services and processes

Build IP awareness and education

by equipping innovators in Canada with the IP knowledge they need to succeed

Offer a modern service experience

through e-enabled services and a strong customer focus

Foster an agile and high-performing organization

by investing in our staff and our workplace and managing our business with probity