2021−2022 Annual Report
Advancing innovation

CIPO plays an important role in Canadian innovation. Beyond administering IP rights and disseminating IP data and research, CIPO advocates for Canada's IP interests both domestically and internationally, advances IP harmonization and supports the negotiation and implementation of trade agreements. Through collaborations with its extensive network of domestic and international partners and stakeholders, CIPO contributes to the effective functioning of the IP system, helping Canadian innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses grow and prosper in domestic and global markets.

Modernizing Canada's IP framework

On , responsibility for regulating the patent and trademark agent profession was transferred from CIPO to the College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents (CPATA). Created as part of the Government of Canada's Intellectual Property Strategy, CPATA became responsible for administering a licensing system, maintaining the registers of patent and trademark agents and an agent code of conduct, and undertaking investigations and enforcement as required. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between CIPO and CPATA was established to support a successful transition of responsibilities and address ongoing matters, towards ensuring the effective exercise of the organizations' respective roles and responsibilities. As required under the College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents Regulations, CIPO is represented on the CPATA committee responsible for administering licensing requirements.

In July and August 2021, CIPO conducted a formal public consultation in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on a series of amendments to the Patent Rules to streamline the patent examination process and encourage applicants to prosecute applications more efficiently, improving overall patent pendency. They also ensure compliance with the new WIPO sequence listing standard, Standard ST.26, to meet obligations in the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). These regulatory amendments will bring Canada's patent framework into better alignment with international norms.

Maintaining and fostering bilateral relations with our international counterparts is a central priority for CIPO. Through numerous bilateral and multilateral agreements, including MOUs and work plans, CIPO strengthens the Canadian IP regime, enhances Canada's position in the international system and promotes cooperation between Canada and other countries and international organizations. To date, CIPO is a signatory to 19 MOUs with other countries and organizations. In 2021–2022, CIPO signed new bilateral MOUs with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore and the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Authority and signed a work plan with the Institut national de la propriété industrielle of France. CIPO also renewed its MOU with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. CIPO is also in the process of renewing or developing bilateral MOUs with the Korean Intellectual Property Office, France's Institut national de la propriété industrielle, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property and the Brazilian National Institute of Industrial Property.

Over the years, CIPO has developed a strong collaborative relationship with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. In June 2021, CIPO had fruitful exchanges on key topics, including support for SMEs, trademark processes and pandemic recovery planning.

In July 2021, CIPO took over the role of chair of the Vancouver Group, a collaborative effort between the national IP offices from Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Regular engagement between Vancouver Group members allows our IP offices to share information and experiences on common issues and areas relevant to managing a mid-sized national IP office and identify potential areas for cooperation. Together, the Vancouver Group has worked on a number of projects relating to patent quality, IP research, finance, strategic human resources, customer-centred services and digital transformation. In February 2022, another Vancouver Group meeting took place in which CIPO committed to exchanging information and experiences regarding its trademark backlog, the creation of CPATA and CIPO's next 5-year business strategy.

The WIPO General Assembly provides an opportunity for Canada to engage with other Member States, take stock of the progress of WIPO-led initiatives and discuss future policy directions. In October 2021, the 62nd series of meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO took place in a hybrid format. Alongside the General Assemblies, CIPO met bilaterally with key international partners to exchange information on ongoing cooperative projects, latest IP office developments and COVID-19 responses. CIPO's continued involvement on the international stage has allowed for the invaluable sharing of knowledge and experience with peers and learning from best practices, which aids in the good functioning of the international IP system and the delivery of excellent services for CIPO clients and Canadians.

As a member of Group B+, CIPO helped to promote and facilitate progress on key issues under consideration at WIPO, notably the international harmonization of substantive patent law. As part of the group's ongoing discussions, the Japan Patent Office conducted an international study to better understand the dynamics between disclosing innovations and filing for patent protection. CIPO helped to solicit feedback from Canadians on their experiences in the filing of patent applications and pre-filing disclosures.

In November 2021, CIPO participated in the International Trademarks Association's 2021 Annual Meeting Virtual+. It was an opportunity for CIPO to learn about the latest trademark office practices, engage in a dialogue on a variety of global IP themes such as innovation and the future of IP, and strengthen CIPO's relationship with the international trademark community. That same month, CIPO participated as a panelist in a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) event titled Promoting the inclusion of women in intellectual property. CIPO shared its best practices on increasing the use of the IP system by women and on the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in IP offices.

In December 2021, CIPO engaged with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) as part of their respective annual administrative meetings. Member States of ARIPO and OAPI represent two thirds of African countries. These meetings were an excellent opportunity for CIPO to fulfill its requirements under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and to reiterate its willingness to collaborate with the international community and leverage IP to tackle global challenges. During the 45th Session of the ARIPO Administrative Council, CIPO made a statement acknowledging the accession of the Republic of Seychelles as a Member State. A statement by CIPO commending the cooperative nature of the OAPI was also included in a magazine for onsite participants of the 61st Session of the Administrative Council of the OAPI.

Maintaining dialogue with our domestic stakeholders

Through its many collaborative relationships with leading Canadian IP associations, business groups and academia, CIPO is able to draw on various perspectives that help to inform decisions and future priorities and improve service for Canadian businesses and innovators. In 2021–2022, CIPO engaged with a number of domestic partners and stakeholders through formal and informal consultations, meetings, bilateral engagements and events. This continued dialogue allows CIPO to keep its finger on the pulse of the IP ecosystem and ensures that Canada's IP framework continues to promote innovation and economic development.

During the final year of its 2017–2022 Five-Year Business Strategy, CIPO had its eye on the future. In 2021–2022, CIPO consulted with key domestic stakeholders to get their perspective on the opportunities and challenges facing IP in Canada and to comment on the overarching priorities that should guide CIPO's activities over the next 5 years. Stakeholders were supportive of CIPO's proposed strategic direction and eager to deepen their collaboration with CIPO as we operationalize our 5-year vision.

In May 2021, leaders from across CIPO joined more than 55 members from the IP section of the Canadian Bar Association for their fourth annual joint town hall to discuss CIPO priorities and progress. CIPO highlighted recent domestic and international filing statistics and trends and discussed steps to modernize and improve operations for the timely delivery of quality IP services

In October 2021, as part of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) Annual Conference, CIPO provided members of the IP community an update on the latest IP trends, challenges and opportunities facing the organization as it establishes its priorities for the next 5 years. CIPO reiterated its commitment to work with IPIC and key stakeholders in pursuit of strategic objectives.

The Patent Practice Committee and the Trademark Practice Committee are composed of IP professionals from the IPIC and CIPO. In 2021–2022, these committees met on a number of occasions to discuss issues, develop solutions and advance innovative practice approaches to support robust patent and trademark practices and timely delivery of quality IP rights.

Becoming a more data-driven organization

Data—and their dissemination—are an integral part of innovation. Committed to becoming a more data-driven organization, CIPO continued to enhance its data governance and stewardship. The additional oversight will ensure that CIPO, innovators, businesses and policy-makers have access to timely, quality and secure data to support decision making.

Forecasting of IP activity is essential for effective corporate planning. It allows for the strategic allocation of human and financial resources and the best possible service for our clients. The pandemic and the instability brought on by the current economic environment has created the need for more frequent and detailed forecasting analysis and reports. As a result, CIPO created the IP Forecasting Newsletter, an internal publication that summarizes the current economic conditions affecting IP activity at CIPO; predicted filings for patents, trademarks and industrial designs; the future use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the Madrid filing system and the Hague filing system; and predicted revenue streams. As domestic and international economic conditions continue to evolve, CIPO continuously adapts its econometric forecasting models to ensure corporate planning is anchored in the latest data.

In October 2021, CIPO hosted its second Annual IP Data & Research Workshop, an internal forum to share knowledge and foster discussion on IP research, policy, data and operational issues within ISED. Lessons learned from this event supported the successful delivery of the 5th Annual IP Data and Research Conference in March 2022. This annual conference, organized by CIPO in collaboration with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, aims to disseminate leading IP research to an international audience of IP stakeholders, economic researchers and policy thinkers. This year, the conference was focused on the themes of diversity and inclusion in the IP ecosystem, lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, IP metrics, clean technologies and data and digital platform governance. In conjunction with the conference, CIPO hosted its second annual Data Day, a half-day event that provided a forum for researchers and data scientists to share the data and analytical techniques behind their research.

CIPO's IP analytics reports aim to provide Canadian innovators and businesses with IP intelligence to help identify areas of innovation and growth, and position themselves to better compete in the global marketplace. In February 2022, CIPO, in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), released the IP analytics report Patenting to Fight Pandemics. This report brings to light Canadian patented inventions between 1999 and 2018, with a particular focus on 3 research areas that align with NRC's Pandemic Response Challenge Program: therapeutics and vaccine development, rapid detection and diagnosis and digital health.

Key findings from the report

  • Globally, patented inventions in pandemic mitigation technologies have grown on average by 17% annually between 1999 and 2018.
  • Canada ranked eighth globally in terms of the number of patented inventions assigned to Canadian institutions, and accounted for just over 2% of the inventions patented by institutions worldwide.
  • 178 patented inventions assigned to 85 Canadian institutions were identified as technologies that could help the fight against COVID-19; of these, almost 75% were related to therapeutics and vaccine development, signalling a relative specialization of Canadian institutions in this area.
  • There was a marked increase in therapeutics and vaccine development in the 5 years following the 2002 SARS outbreak, suggesting innovators respond directly and quickly in patenting innovations as needs arise.