2021−2022 Annual Report
Offering a modern service experience

CIPO aims to provide a seamless client-centred service experience that is digitally enabled and delivers high-quality IP rights in a timely manner. CIPO has set an ambitious service transformation agenda to achieve this goal. Throughout this journey, CIPO is putting clients at the centre of service design and engaging them at every stage of the service experience.

Putting clients at the heart of service improvement

Delivering an exceptional service experience requires a good understanding of our clients, their unique characteristics and desired touchpoints. In 2021–2022, CIPO conducted a harmonization exercise to align all the insight collected over the years on client behaviours and expectations, and established an authoritative set of client profiles to guide the development of products and services that meet the targeted needs of different client groups.

To engage, equip and empower employees in delivering excellent service, CIPO now embeds service excellence principles in each of its existing training modules. The curriculum is customized to meet the specific needs, products and services of each line of business. CIPO also complements its onboarding and operational training with relevant and practical learning tools, using continuous learning as a strategic lever to sustain its service excellence culture.

Creating a seamless digital experience

In today's global IP ecosystem, CIPO services must keep up with those of other leading IP offices. Clients expect e-enabled services that are convenient, seamless and on demand.

In today's global IP ecosystem, CIPO services must keep up with those of other leading IP offices. Clients expect e-enabled services that are convenient, seamless and on-demand. In April 2021, CIPO launched an e-grant system and became one of the first IP offices in the world to issue entirely electronic patents. Clients that have been granted a Canadian patent can now download their documents in electronic format from a secure repository, rather than receive a paper copy. The new e-issuance process produces 2 PDFs. One consists of the patent, sealed with a digital signature, and the other consists of the cover page, description, claims and drawings. The positive ecological impact of issuing patents electronically cannot be overstated, with CIPO printing approximately 1 million fewer pages in the first year of the initiative. To advance our vision of being a paperless IP office, in March 2022, CIPO completed the digitization of its archived paper patent applications and related documents, some dating as far back as 1940.

This multi-year initiative has made over 187,000 files available online in the Canadian Patents Database, ensuring that historical IP documents are safe and accessible and allowing for more efficient searching of documents.

PCT national entry requests (NERs) represent approximately 80% of all patent applications received at CIPO. In November 2021, CIPO launched a new interactive NER online solution that allows clients to save drafts of multiple patent applications, which can be finalized and submitted at a later time. Once an application has been successfully submitted and the fee paid, clients instantly receive a national entry date and a Canadian application number. Between August 2021 and March 2022, the NER online solution was used by over 90 firms and individual patent agents requesting national entry of over 4,400 applications.

Canada Post's epost Connect™ is a digital delivery platform with bank-grade encryption that facilitates the sending and receiving of confidential messages and documents with 1 or multiple recipients. In 2021–2022, CIPO adopted epost Connect™ for international patent applications, allowing clients to electronically retrieve outgoing PCT international correspondence.

CIPO also began classifying all new international patent applications according to the symbols of the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system, in addition to those of the International Patent Classification (IPC) system, which remains the international classification system recognized by WIPO. Developed as a partnership between the European Patent Office and USPTO, the CPC system is designed to be more specific than the IPC and allows for faster and more accurate searching of patents and prior art. The CPC system has been adopted by more than 45 patent offices as a search and classification tool.

On , CIPO launched the new Trademarks e-Services platform, which introduced a number of self-service transactions, such as a change of name, address or ownership and security and licence agreements. The automation of these transactions not only provides clients more flexibility in how they interact with CIPO, but also increases operational efficiency by reducing the number of transactions that previously required manual intervention by CIPO staff. As of , CIPO had received over 7,905 transactions via the new Trademarks e-Services platform, 86% of which were processed automatically.

In March 2022, CIPO adopted the Government of Canada's single sign-in platform for all its e-services. Clients can now access CIPO e-services using their GCKey or Canadian online banking credentials (Verified.Me), just as they do for many other Government of Canada e-services. Additionally, a 2-step verification process was implemented as an enhanced security measure. In addition to making CIPO e-services more seamless, this new authentication platform and 2-step verification process also make CIPO's services more secure, helping build trust in conducting online business with CIPO.

Early in the pandemic, the TMOB began using videoconferencing to conduct its hearings, including those requiring simultaneous translation. This approach not only saves time and money for clients but also provides gains in efficiency for CIPO and its clients that will contribute to more timely delivery of services. In light of this success, the TMOB amended its practice notices to formalize videoconferencing as the default method for conducting hearings. In addition, participants have access to, upon request, closed captioning and sign language interpretation at virtual hearings.