2023-2028 Business Strategy
Priority 1

Priority 1: Timely delivery of quality IP services through operational excellence and a modern client experience

On this page

Defining success

  • Clients have confidence in their IP rights.
  • Turnaround times for IP services meet clients' expectations.
  • Clients have access to e-enabled IP services that are seamless, integrated and harmonized with other jurisdictions.

What we will do

Render quality decisions that are consistent, predictable and reasonable

  • Maintain ISO certification for patent processes.
  • Operationalize and support patent practice changes resulting from regulatory amendments (Patent Law Treaty and streamlining provisions) and court decisions by 2024.
  • Develop a quality framework and program for trademark and industrial designs examination by 2025.
  • Introduce new regulatory authorities regarding the Trademark Opposition Board (cost awards, confidentiality orders, case management, official marks) by 2024.
  • Engage with clients and stakeholders to establish relevant quality metrics and regularly report on performance by 2024.

Optimize turnaround times

  • Complete implementation of the trademark recovery plan to restore turnaround times to internationally comparable standards by 2026.
  • Assess all IP processes to identify efficiency opportunities, simplify administration and streamline operations.
  • Reduce inventories and deliver on service standards that meet client expectations.
  • Leverage best practices and operational data to drive process improvement.
  • Introduce a CIPO service dashboard that presents data from across all service activities.
  • Build and strengthen partnerships with leading IP offices to benchmark and align ourselves with best practices.

Modernize the client service experience

  • Implement front- and back-office IT solution for patent processes by 2023.
  • Launch front- and back-office IT solution for trademarks processes.
  • Design end-to-end digital services with integrated self-service capabilities.
  • Equip and empower employees with the training and tools to deliver excellent client service.
  • Build an evidence-base of client feedback and operational data to inform service development and improve service delivery.
  • Deliver the Client Satisfaction Survey to establish baseline performance and refine service standard targets by 2023.

CIPO is focused on the timeliness and quality of its services and is cognizant of the varying and emerging needs of its clients. With the rapid pace of innovation, businesses and entrepreneurs face an increasing need to protect their intellectual assets in a timely manner. By their nature, innovations in some fields will require longer than others to examine and grant IP protection, and ensuring the quality of these IP rights is paramount. Balancing optimal turnaround times with quality supports a competitive and well-functioning marketplace and provides IP owners with the confidence to operate, knowing their ideas are recognized and protected.

Render quality decisions that are consistent, predictable and reasonable

The primary focus of CIPO's examination process is on providing a quality review. CIPO has established a record of granting and registering quality IP rights, we are committed to sustaining or improving these high levels of service. Having obtained and maintained ISO certification (ISO 9001:2015) for our patent processes since 2017 and through the wider implementation of quality management practices across the organization, CIPO will continue to instill a culture of quality and service excellence. The quality of an IP right is defined by its reliability and consistency in the decision to grant. CIPO's future efforts will emphasize the quality of written reports, supported by sound reasoning in opinions and consistency in decisions. To address specific quality issues, targeted training will be provided to ensure established procedures are followed and current regulations, policies and impacts of court decisions are consistently applied.

Our quality management approach takes into account adherence to standards, the comprehensiveness of searches and evidence and overall quality of written reports and decisions. By establishing and communicating new quality metrics, CIPO will be able to identify further areas for improvement, increase transparency and achieve more consistent outcomes for clients.

Optimize turnaround times

As the pace of innovation continues to accelerate, so does the demand for timely IP rights. IP rights play a pivotal role in advancing innovation and driving economic growth and competitiveness, and securing protection in a timely manner is paramount. Moreover, Canada's recent adherence to international treaties and implementation of trade agreements have further changed the nature and demand for IP.

As a result of the implementation of 3 international trademark treaties and continued growth in the demand for trademark protection, CIPO is facing significant turnaround time challenges in its trademark operations. The implementation of a modernized legislative framework and the ongoing transformation of business processes has led to a sizeable backlog in the examination of trademark applications. As part of our trademark operational plan, we will increase our examination capacity and leverage IT solutions that bring process efficiencies.

Further, we will continue to expand the pre-approved list of goods and services, both saving time at examination and helping to reduce inventory. CIPO is steadfast in providing the best possible client service. We recognize that a high-quality examination is of utmost importance, and an "optimal" turnaround time is one that serves clients' needs. The focus for CIPO will be on "optimal" pendency and establishing service standards that are predictable and internationally comparable. CIPO is committed to engaging with clients and stakeholders to ensure their needs are well understood and service standards are predictable and transparent.

The streamlining of CIPO's operations is a continued priority and will demand an end-to-end review of all IP application processes. The emergence of new technologies presents an opportunity for organizations to improve service by bringing efficiencies to their operations. CIPO will seek to take advantage of the benefits of new technologies by introducing tools that expedite the search process for trademarks and preliminary search of patent prior art. As new IT solutions become available, there will be more opportunities to better address the demand for IP, refine business processes and increase efficiency through automation. Further improvement of turnaround times will come from regulatory and legislative amendments. For example, new provisions in Canada's Patent Rules will include a request for continued examination requirement and fees for excess claims that will streamline patent applications and reduce patent pendency.

Setting up and maintaining a solid IT infrastructure is critical to the effective functioning of an organization. It is what employees depend on every day to do their jobs and stay connected and is a gateway for doing business with clients. CIPO has begun a multi-year IT modernization plan that makes significant investments in both client-facing and internal infrastructure, giving us greater capacity to deliver services online. Transformation of our IT will be centered on serving business, employee and client needs now and into the future.

The ongoing and continuous improvement of CIPO's processes will require a data-driven approach. Data can provide insights into an organization's operations that allow for more informed decision- making and better service. Tools will be developed and enhanced to enable increased use of operational data to better understand client behaviour and drive business transformation. CIPO will leverage the full value of its data to inform employee training, identify areas for improvement and deliver more consistent service to clients.

Modernize the client service experience

CIPO prides itself as being an organization dedicated to delivering excellent service. CIPO interacts with hundreds of clients every day to deliver IP services that play an important part in their business's success. We actively engage with both clients and employees to better understand their needs and expectations when it comes to their interactions with CIPO, and we improve service delivery wherever possible. Collecting ongoing service feedback supports continuous improvement and allows us to track client satisfaction as we modernize our business. Clients expect easy access to clear, accurate, consistent and secure IP information and services. More and more, the expectation is that these services can be transacted online and that resources be available at one's convenience. CIPO's service strategy ensures that the IP services clients receive are e-enabled, timely and accessible. As we continue to build CIPO's digital capacity, enhance our web presence and promote self-service, the client service experience will be integral to the successful implementation of CIPO's future service transformation.

Empowering employees to deliver quality service is central to CIPO's service strategy. Employees are supported by policies, procedures and business processes that promote excellent service. New technologies are changing client and employee's needs. CIPO is focused on what we do and how we operate in support of service transformation and our ultimate goal of service excellence.

Digital transformation and IP

Digital innovation is transforming every aspect of our daily lives, from the way we work, shop, interact and access information and services. Likewise the administration of IP is also transforming from opportunities created by these emerging technologies. As the volume of IP information and data increases, CIPO must evolve its technological and administrative capabilities to enable technological transformation.

In the applications we receive, technology is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary in nature, blurring the lines for IP classification. Moreover, the regulatory environment in which these new technologies are operating continues to evolve.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies as clients have moved dramatically toward online channels. The rapid shift toward digital interactions will drive the way service is delivered and consumed in the future, creating both opportunities and challenges. As CIPO moves away from paper-based processes and legacy IT systems, we will develop user-focused solutions that are nimble, resilient and responsive to the needs of our clients. We aim to expand and continually improve our digital services to make the process of protecting IP as seamless as possible.

A successful digital transformation requires an end-to-end mindset, a creative approach to meeting client needs, seamless interaction between processes and the ability to break silos across the organization. The potential of new and emerging technologies to deliver service and optimize operations is significant. Yet, adapting these technologies to meet specific business needs and integrating them with existing systems is complex. Our IT modernization initiatives look to transform both our tools and processes, increase efficiencies, as well as improve the quality and timeliness of service delivery.

Data will be the key ingredient underpinning our technological change. As a data-driven organization, CIPO will implement a data strategy and establish a chief data steward to develop the evidence base to optimize operational decision-making, inform IP policy and support follow-on innovation. We will treat CIPO's data as an asset and make it accessible, discoverable, usable and shareable. We will also install the proper analytics and intelligence tools to collect, manage, store and analyze our data holdings. Most importantly, CIPO will ensure data is handled ethically and securely and ensure that privacy is protected.