2021−2022 Annual Report
Delivering quality and timely IP rights

Delivering quality IP rights in a timely manner is essential to a competitive and well-functioning marketplace, providing innovators and businesses with the protection and certainty they need to invest in their ideas. The pace of innovation is accelerating and CIPO's role is pivotal, instilling confidence through timely delivery of quality IP rights that clients can count on.

Focusing on transparency and accountability

In June 2017, CIPO's patent processes were awarded the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 certification. CIPO has maintained ISO certification ever since, following successful external surveillance audits in March 2020 and again in March 2022. CIPO is committed to continuous improvement and the consistent delivery of products and services that meet or exceed client expectations.

CIPO is accountable for the level of service it provides, making key quality metrics and service standards available on its website. A patent quality dashboard presents statistics that align with the organization's 3 quality objectives: quality, timeliness and efficiency. In 2021–2022, CIPO enhanced the patent quality dashboard, clarifying existing metrics as a result of client feedback and adding a measure relating to the quality of applications proceeding to allowance. Furthermore, CIPO now publishes the dates of trademark applications at first examination in the Canadian Trademarks Database.

CIPO's client service standards reflect the level of service clients can expect when requesting a service for which a fee is paid. On , ISED's Remission Policy came into effect, requiring CIPO to remit, under certain conditions, a portion of a fee paid when a service standard is determined not to have been met and a remission is warranted. This commitment to meeting service standards increases predictability for clients and is another example of CIPO's accountability in providing timely IP services.

The Manual of Patent Office Practice is a guide intended for patent examiners, applicants, agents and the public on the operational procedures and examination practices of Canada's Patent Office under the Patent Act and Patent Rules.

From December 2021 to February 2022, CIPO undertook public consultations on proposed changes to the manual, relating mainly to the integration of guidance from the practice notice on patentable subject-matter under the Patent Act. These consultations helped ensure the clarity of the information presented in the manual and its alignment with the Patent Act, Patent Rules and current jurisprudence.

Operational efficiency

Patents

In 2021–2022, CIPO received 39,709 patent applications and granted 19,525 new patents (compared with 22,451 new patents granted in 2020–2021). The average turnaround time—the time between a client's request for examination and the moment a patent is granted—was 30.8 months, lower than in 2020–2021 (31.1 months). To improve turnaround times and reduce inventory, CIPO recruited 31 new patent examiners and continued to promote the use of the patent examination interview service. This service allows clients to discuss a patent application directly with the examiner and obtain suggestions or advice as to how an identified defect may be corrected, reducing the risk of impasse and reducing the time to allowance.

The Patent Appeal Board (PAB) provides an independent review of rejected patent applications. In 2021–2022, the PAB received 36 rejected patent applications, down from 52 in 2020–2021. On average, the turnaround time for issuing a decision on an appeal was 29.1 months, up from 25.4 months the previous year. To reduce turnaround times for patent appeals, CIPO implemented a pilot project in 2020 where certain rejected patent applications in the electrical discipline were reviewed by a single PAB member instead of 3. In January 2022, the scope of the pilot project was expanded to reduce the inventory of rejected applications.

Trademarks

Since Canada's accession to 3 international trademark treaties in June 2019, CIPO has seen a steady increase in trademark applications. In 2021−2022, CIPO received 79,808 trademark applications, including 24,713 protocol applications. This marked a 5% increase in the total number of applications filed over the previous year. CIPO registered 27,265 trademarks, a 28% increase compared to the previous year. The average turnaround time for clients remained high (35.7 months from filing to registration in 2021–2022, compared with 34.2 months the previous year).

The Trademarks Opposition Board (TMOB) hears cases where someone objects to the registration of a trademark or requests that a trademark registration be expunged. In 2021−2022, the TMOB increased the number of hearings held by 10%, and the number of decisions, by more than 64%. In 2021–2022, the average turnaround time to schedule a hearing was 21.5 months. The average turnaround time for hearing decisions was 3 months after the hearing and 14 months for non-hearing decisions. In an effort to improve the turnaround time for rendering decisions, CIPO launched an ad hoc decision-maker pilot project. As part of this pilot, CIPO welcomed a few former trademark agents to join the team on a part-time basis. This additional capacity resulted in an increased number of decisions issued, a decrease in wait times and a 30% reduction of our inventory of cases awaiting a decision.

Industrial designs

Industrial design filings at CIPO have seen a steady year-over-year increase. This trend was amplified by Canada's accession to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs in October 2018. In 2021−2022, CIPO received 9,067 industrial design applications, including 3,364 Hague applications, representing a 11% increase from the previous year's total number of applications. The average turnaround time from filing to registration increased to 16.4 months, compared with 13.6 months in 2020−2021.