2018–2019 Annual Report
Helping make Canada a global centre of innovation

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Message from the CEO

Johanne Bélisle

Johanne Bélisle

Commissioner of Patents, Registrar of Trademarks and Chief Executive Officer

This was a pivotal year for the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). On (World Intellectual Property Day), the Government of Canada launched its first-ever national Intellectual Property Strategy. The strategy provides an investment of $85.3 million over 5 years to increase knowledge and awareness of intellectual property (IP), facilitate access to tools and advice and amend legislation for a more transparent and predictable IP system in Canada.

CIPO is proud to be a key player in this strategy, notably through its IP awareness and education program. Launched in May 2017, this new program helps Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators recognize the value of IP and its importance to business growth. In the past year, we partnered with numerous organizations to provide new programs, seminars and tools that equip innovators and businesses with the IP knowledge they need to succeed.

We also made significant progress in Canada's implementation of 5 international IP treaties, which will provide Canadians with a faster, simpler and more cost-effective way to protect their IP in multiple countries and help attract foreign investment in Canada. On , Canada officially acceded to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs and significantly modernized its industrial design regime. In June 2019, Canada will implement 3 international trademark treaties (Madrid Protocol, Singapore Treaty and Nice Agreement) and the Patent Law Treaty in October 2019, strengthening Canada's place in a modern, global IP system.

On the international stage, CIPO is an active member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and has increased dialogue and bilateral agreements with IP offices around the globe. These efforts help to strengthen IP regimes worldwide and promote positive outcomes for Canadian businesses expanding abroad.

Granting quality and timely IP rights to our clients around the world is at the heart of our mandate. This year, we established an organization-wide quality management framework and policy, building on our Patent Branch's International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification. In February 2019, we held the Patent Quality Summit to engage clients and stakeholders in a dialogue on quality so that we can improve our patent practices.

The results of the CIPO 2018 Client Satisfaction Survey gave us valuable benchmark data leading to key service improvement areas. For instance, we are streamlining the IP application process, improving the quality and responsiveness of our examination processes and revamping our website to be more client-centric. We also launched our new Clients First training program to better equip our employees with the knowledge and skills they need to deliver excellent service.

Attracting and retaining top talent remain priorities. In the 2018–2019 fiscal year, we hired a number of new patent and trademark examiners as part of a 3-year recruitment campaign, attracted new talent in key technical areas and implemented a student recruitment strategy that led to the hiring of 81 students.

It is an exciting time for IP in Canada. The national IP Strategy and Canada's accession to the international treaties have set the stage for Canadian businesses and innovators to grow and compete globally and to drive innovation and economic prosperity that will benefit all Canadians. I am very proud of the work we have accomplished over the past year, and I am looking forward to the future as we continue to make Canada a global centre for innovation.

On this page

About us

CIPO is a special operating agency of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) and is responsible for the administration and processing of the greater part of 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, an annual private sector financial audit and our client service standards.


Our mission is to contribute to Canada's innovation and economic success by doing the following:

  • providing greater certainty in the marketplace through high-quality and timely IP rights
  • fostering and supporting invention and creativity through knowledge sharing
  • raising awareness of IP to encourage innovators to better exploit it
  • helping businesses compete globally through international cooperation and the promotion of Canada's IP interests
  • administering Canada's IP system and office efficiently and effectively


Our leadership and expertise in IP support creativity, enhance innovation and contribute to economic success.


As a trusted partner in building an innovative Canadian economy, CIPO does the following:

  • serves with excellence and efficiency
  • makes timely and sound decisions on IP rights
  • respects the perspectives of stakeholders while carrying out its regulatory function

Areas of activity

Patents: A patent is a legal right to prevent others from making, using or selling an invention for up to 20 years in the country or region where the patent is granted. The invention can be any of the following:

  • 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

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. In Canada, an industrial design registration provides exclusive and legally enforceable rights for up to 15 years and protects a product's unique appearance.

Trademarks: A trademark is used to distinguish a person or organization's goods or services from those of others. It can be any of the following:

  • one or many words
  • a design
  • a sound

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

Geographical indications: A geographical indication is an indication used on a product (i.e. wine, spirits, agricultural products and 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.

Copyright: A 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:

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

Unlike other IP rights, a copyright subsists in an original work from the moment it is created. Generally, copyright protection lasts for the lifetime of the author, plus 70 years after their death. In Canada, a certificate of registration of copyright is evidence that a copyright exists and that the person registered is the owner.

2018–2019 at a glance


  • 39,027 applications (12% increase from 2017–2018)
    • Number of applications by sector
      • Chemistry: 13,095 (10% increase)
      • Electrical engineering: 6,279 (11% increase)
      • Instruments: 6,504 (14% increase)
      • Mechanical engineering: 8,278 (15% increase)
      • Other fields: 4,871 (15% increase)
  • 30,163 requests for examinations (8% increase from 2017–2018)
  • 23,093 grants (5% decrease from 2017–2018)
  • 34 decisions rendered by the Patent Appeal Board (21% increase from 2017–2018)
2018–2019 top 10 patent applicants
2018–2019 top 10 patent applicants
2018–2019 top 10 patent applicants: Text version
2018–2019 top 10 patent applicants
Patent applicant Number of patent applications
Qualcomm 316
Halliburton Energy Services 271
General Electric 241
Walmart Apollo 234
Boeing 197
Philip Morris Products 177
BASF 173
Procter & Gamble 152
Nissan Motor 148

Country of origin of patent applications

Country of origin of patent applications
Country of origin of patent applications
Country of origin of patent applications: Text version
Country of origin of patent applications
Foreign countries Canada
33,988 5,039
Among the patent applications received from Canada
Patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)Footnote 1 Patent applications not filed under the PCT
1,569 3,470
Among the patent applications received from foreign countries
Country Number
United States of America 17,819
Germany 2,252
Japan 1,873
France 1,541
Switzerland 1,386
United Kingdom 1,365
China 1,278
Italy 651
Netherlands 527
Israel 521

CIPO received 2,209 International Searching Authority applications and 187 International Preliminary Examination Authority applications

Spotlight on Canadian innovation

Track assembly for an all-terrain vehicle or other tracked vehicle

Drawing of a track assembly for an all-terrain vehicle or other tracked vehicle

Description: This track assembly is used to provide traction to an all-terrain vehicle or other tracked vehicle. The wheel mechanism on the inside of the track is in contact with the inner segments of the endless track and allows the track assembly to change shape if the vehicle comes in contact with obstacles on the ground. In some cases, the wheel mechanism can be a resilient wheel that is elastically deformable, while in other cases, it can be made up of multiple connected wheels.

Patent number: CA2701662
Date issued:
Sector: mechanical engineering


  • 63,442 applications (5% increase from 2017–2018)
    • 42,546 word marks (5% increase)
    • 20,891 design marks (6% increase)
    • 9 sound marks (50% increase)
  • 24,917 registrations (5% decrease from 2017–2018)
  • 179 decisions rendered by the Trademarks Opposition Board (12% decrease from 2017–2018)
  • 84 opposition decisions rendered (11% decrease from 2017–2018)
  • 95 section 45 decisions rendered (14% decrease from 2017–2018)
2018–2019 top 10 trademark applicants
2018–2019 top 10 trademark applicants
2018–2019 top 10 trademark applicants: Text version
2018–2019 top 10 trademark applicants
Trademark applicant Number of trademark applications
Procter & Gamble 244
L'Oréal 198
Home Depot  158
Johnson & Johnson 154
Target Brands 120
Unilever Canada 108
Victoria's Secret  96
Unilever PLC 91
Novartis 90
IGT 86

Country of origin of trademark applications

Country of origin of trademark applications
Country of origin of trademark applications
Country of origin of trademark applications: Text version
Country of origin of trademark applications
Canada Foreign countries
27,314 36,128
Among the trademark applications received from foreign countries
Country Number
United States of America 19,007
China 2,893
United Kingdom 1,741
Germany 1,629
France 1,493
Switzerland 1,081
Japan 1,046
Italy 837
Australia 715
Republic of Korea 599

Spotlight on Canadian innovation


TrackTik Logo

Description: TrackTik is a security workforce management software that seamlessly connects mobile guard patrols, incident reporting, guard scheduling, payroll, tracking and more.

Owner: TrackTik Software Inc.
Registration number: TMA1002973
Date registered:
Type: word mark

Industrial designs

  • 6,724 applications (1% increase from 2017–2018)
  • 5,542 registrations (17% increase from 2017–2018)
2018–2019 top 10 industrial design applicants
2018–2019 top 10 industrial design applicants
2018–2019 top 10 industrial design applicants: Text version
2018–2019 top 10 industrial design applicants
Industrial design applicant Number of industrial design applications
Delta Faucet 270
Ford Global Technologies 60
Apple 57
Google 56
Paccar  50
Kronoplus  47
Gillette 42
Magic Leap 41
Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha 41
AS IP Holdco 41

Country of origin of industrial design applications

Country of origin of industrial design applications
Country of origin of industrial design applications
Country of origin of industrial design applications: Text version
Country of origin of industrial design applications
Canada Foreign countriesFootnote **
707 5,432
Among the industrial design applications received from foreign countries
Country Number
United States of America 3,446
China 231
Japan 224
Germany 214
Switzerland 167
United Kingdom 156
Italy 124
Australia 108
France 102
Hong Kong 92

Spotlight on Canadian innovation

The Instant Pot®

Picture of an Instant Pot

Description: The Instant Pot® is a pressure cooker created to solve a cooking challenge that busy people face: how to quickly put a healthy, delicious meal on the table after a long day of work or study.

National application/registration number: 178558
Owner: Double InsightFootnote 1
Date of registration: 2018/10/01


  • 9,204 registrations (2% increase from 2017–2018)
    • Literary: 3,924 (0.3% decrease)
    • Artistic: 1,681 (9% increase)
    • Dramatic: 1,373 (5% increase)
    • Musical: 817 (5% decrease)
    • Combination of literary, artistic, dramatic or musical: 865 (6% increase)
    • Sound recording: 485 (0.2% increase)
    • Performance: 39 (31% decrease)
    • Communication signal: 20 (5% increase)
2018–2019 top 10 copyright applicants
2018–2019 top 10 copyright applicants
2018–2019 top 10 copyright applicants: Text version
2018–2019 top 10 copyright applicants
Copyright applicant Number of copyright applications
Apple 380
Sojag  90
Warner Bros. Entertainment  80
Les Éditions Logitell  74
Netflix Studios 63
Blue J Legal 60
Wang Mars 49
Yang Sukmin 45
Professional Petroleum Data Management Association 43
Sony Pictures Television  41

Country of origin of copyright applications

Country of origin of copyright applications
Country of origin of copyright applications
Country of origin of copyright applications: Text version
Country of origin of copyright applications
Canada Foreign countries
7,975 1,234
Among the copyright applications received from foreign countries
Country Number
United States of America 973
Switzerland 47
United Kingdom 40
China 34
Bermuda 16
France 14
Russian Federation 11
India 10
Philippines 9
Italy 9


This annual report presents CIPO's achievements for the 2018–2019 fiscal year and describes the key actions taken and results achieved, as we carry out the priorities established in our Five-Year Business Strategy 2017–2022: to advance innovation, to deliver quality and timely IP rights, to build IP awareness and education, to offer a modern service experience and to foster an agile and high-performing organization. These priorities guide our activities and support our goal of delivering a modern, efficient and accessible IP system that is aligned with international best practices.

2017–2022 business strategy

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

Advancing innovation: Through a modern IP framework and active international collaboration

IP is increasingly important in today's knowledge-based economy. Though intangible, IP assets possess an immense business value and, if protected, can give businesses a competitive advantage over other players in the marketplace. Protected IP also spurs innovation through knowledge sharing. In exchange for protection, inventors and creators must share the details of their innovation, which, in turn, can drive follow-on innovation. CIPO's role in this innovation ecosystem is clear: to make it easier for Canadian innovators to acquire IP protection in Canada and abroad and for non-Canadians to seek IP protection in Canada.

Joining international treaties and harmonizing our IP system with international standards

In 2018–2019, our main priority was to implement international IP treaties and harmonize Canada's IP system with international standards.

On , CIPO published the new Industrial Design Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part II, enabling Canada's accession to the Hague Agreement on . Under the Hague Agreement, Canadian businesses can apply for industrial design protection in up to 69 countries through a single application and pay fees in a single currency and transaction with the WIPO. We also used this opportunity to modernize Canada's industrial design regime, further reducing the regulatory burden on businesses, lowering costs and reducing red tape.

In November 2018, we published the new Trademarks Regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part II. We also updated and created new practice notices for our Trademarks Opposition Board (TMOB). On , Canada joined 3 international trademark treaties: the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty and the Nice Agreement. These treaties will come into force on , and align our domestic trademark regime with international best practices. They will also simplify the administrative process for Canadian businesses seeking to register their trademark abroad. Canadian businesses will now be able to apply for trademark protection in up to 120 countries with a single application filed through the WIPO.

Finally, the Patent Law Treaty will be implemented on , and will streamline and harmonize our patent administrative procedures with those of other treaty members. In December 2018, we held public consultations on proposed amendments to the Patent Rules by publishing them in the Canada Gazette, Part I. We are now making the necessary adjustments to our systems and procedures in preparation for the transition.

Advancing Canada's interests in a global IP ecosystem

Picture of INTA President Tish Berard and CIPO's Commissioner of Patents, Registrar of Trademarks and Chief Executive Officer, Johanne Bélisle.

On , INTA President Tish Berard and CIPO's Commissioner of Patents, Registrar of Trademarks and Chief Executive Officer, Johanne Bélisle, signed an agreement on behalf of the INTA and CIPO to strengthen global collaboration and promote a strong framework for trademarks and related IP rights protection.

In September 2018, CIPO led Canada's delegation at the Fifty-Eighth Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO in Geneva. It was an opportunity for us to share developments on Canada's national IP Strategy—announced in April 2018—and our increased support for building IP expertise through learning and education. We also explored topics of mutual interest, such as transformative technologies and service excellence. We convened a meeting with the heads of the European Patent Office and of IP offices from Australia, France, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States to discuss the impact of transformative technologies on IP systems and administration, as well as areas for cooperation to prepare for their adoption. CIPO collaborated with the Vancouver Group—which brings together the IP offices of Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia—to hold strategic discussions on artificial intelligence and its potential impact on business performance.

To advance international collaboration, we signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with the European Patent Office and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property, and we established a work plan with the China National Intellectual Property Administration. These agreements will provide insights on how to enhance the delivery of IP services and support innovators and entrepreneurs, both in Canada and abroad. In 2018–2019, we also signed an MOU with the International Trademark Association (INTA), a global not‑for-profit association that advocates for the economic and social value of brands. Through this agreement, we will exchange information and education materials, co-develop activities related to the promotion and enforcement of trademark rights and engage the public in seminars on trademark-related topics.

CIPO continued to function as a WIPO-appointed International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority, under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). This designation authorizes CIPO to provide a non-binding opinion on whether an invention is novel, involves an inventive step and has industrial applicability, for patents filed under the PCT. We also extended Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreements with China and Mexico for an additional 3 years. PPH agreements allow IP offices to use work previously done by participating offices, reducing turnaround times and improving patent quality. In all, CIPO partners with 24 IP offices through the Global PPH pilot and has 5 bilateral agreements. In 2018–2019, CIPO received 2,898 valid PPH requests, up 12.5% from last year.

In collaboration with the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property, CIPO co-organized the INTA's third annual IP Office Workshop in Seattle, in May 2018. Participants exchanged information and best practices related to IP office management and trademarks administration and learned about Canada's upcoming accession to 3 international trademarks treaties in 2019.

Empowering women in developing countries

CIPO has long contributed to WIPO technical cooperation activities by providing IP assistance to developing countries. In 2018–2019, we focused on women's participation in the IP systems. Under the umbrella of the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property and in association with the United States and Mexico, we co-sponsored a project to better understand the problems faced by women inventors and innovators and identify mechanisms for providing more targeted support to increase the awareness and use of IP by women. As part of this 4-year project, innovation research centres and mentorship programs will be established in beneficiary countries (Mexico, Oman, Uganda and Pakistan) to provide relevant IP services in an all-women environment. The aim is to promote gender equality and the participation of women in the global economy, which is a priority for the Government of Canada.

Canada's commitment to La Francophonie

Since 1997, CIPO has collaborated with the WIPO to host an annual capacity-building workshop for senior officials of IP offices in developing countries. The objective of the workshop is to enhance knowledge, skills and management techniques in the delivery of IP services by sharing Canada's IP expertise. As a commitment to advancing the goals of La Francophonie, CIPO delivered the 2018 workshop in French, inviting 12 IP officials from 11 francophone countries.Footnote 2 The Organisation africaine de la propriété intellectuelle (OAPI) also participated in the event to exchange ideas and experiences.

In 2018, CIPO also hosted a delegation from the Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property to share information and best practices. We also signed an MOU with the OAPI and a work plan with France's Institut national de la propriété industrielle to exchange data and practices with respect to personnel training and IP office administration.

CIPO-WIPO Executive Workshop: participating countries (1997–2018)

Since 1997, CIPO has hosted 21 Executive Workshops and welcomed senior officials from 82 countries. Through this workshop, CIPO provides technical assistance to developing countries and a forum for IP offices to share best practices.

World map highlighting the 82 countries that have participated in CIPO's Executive Workshops.

Patents in Space

Picture of the Canadarm

In partnership with the Canadian Space Agency, CIPO published Patents in Space, an IP analytics report on patenting in the Canadian space sector. The report identifies areas where Canadians are most actively innovating and points to where Canada may have a competitive advantage globally. The report also presents a patent search methodology for replication and cross-comparison with other spacefaring nations.

Fostering innovation with data

Accurate IP data and analysis help innovators and policy-makers make informed decisions. In 2018–2019, we published the third edition of our IP Canada Report. This annual publication shows trends in IP usage in Canada and by Canadians globally, as well as research conducted by CIPO and other partner organizations. This year's issue presented an analysis of patenting trends by technology field, the results of an internal study to forecast the use of the Madrid System for trademark filers, highlights from our research on innovation in the mining sector and a summary of a study on IP activities by Canadians.

In March 2019, we co-organized the second annual IP Research Workshop, in partnership with the Centre for International Governance Innovation. This 1-day event attracted 180 participants from think tanks, academia, the private sector and government. This year's focus was on the interplay between artificial intelligence, big data and IP rights.

Delivering quality and timely IP rights: Based on modern, efficient and quality-based services and processes

Quality and timely IP rights are at the heart of our business. They create certainty and give innovators the confidence to develop and commercialize their ideas and to compete in the marketplace.


CIPO's quality policy

By actively managing quality, CIPO makes every effort to provide a consistent client-centric experience that delivers high-quality IP products and services in an efficient, timely and accessible manner, creating certainty in the marketplace and stimulating innovation.

CIPO's quality objectives

  1. Clients have a consistent, client-centric experience when interacting with all parts of CIPO.
  2. CIPO systematically identifies and analyzes client needs and expectations and adapts to meet them in a timely manner.
  3. IP rights are granted, registered or refused in accordance with treaty, legislative and regulatory requirements.
  4. CIPO provides timely service to clients, as measured by turnaround times.

Optimizing quality through a CIPO-wide approach

In June 2017, CIPO's Patent Branch received ISO 9001:2015 certification. This certification demonstrates our commitment to quality, consistency and continuous improvement. Building on this success, we developed a CIPO quality policy and a quality management framework that is being applied to all our lines of business.

New processes to oversee trademark examination quality have given us greater insight into quality control and data to establish quality assurance measures. This has resulted in the development of tailored refresher training for our trademark examiners and an improvement in the quality of examination. Standardized processes and quality control of incoming correspondence for trademark oppositions have also reduced the risk of errors while improving efficiency.

For industrial designs, the standardization of our searching methods has increased the consistency of search results, and the use of plainer language in our correspondence has improved the quality of our reports. Industrial design examiners were also trained on the latest jurisprudence and on how to structure and write reports.

Let's talk quality!

Stakeholders participating in the Patent Quality Summit in February 2019.

Stakeholders participating in the Patent Quality Summit in February 2019.

In March 2019, CIPO's Patent Branch was successful in its latest ISO surveillance audit, thereby maintaining its ISO certification and further demonstrating its commitment to continually improving its quality management system.

In February 2019, CIPO hosted a Patent Quality Summit that brought together CIPO staff and stakeholders, such as agents, private inventors and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to network and discuss ideas on improving patent quality through interactive panel discussions and workshops.

Improving our practices, processes and tools

In 2018–2019, CIPO updated the Industrial Design Office Practice Manual (IDOP) to operationalize the legislative and regulatory changes resulting from the Hague Agreement and modernization initiatives. The IDOP now includes expanded sections on drawing techniques, means of disclaiming, jurisprudence, use of colour, and computer-generated animated designs, as well as updated sections on the Hague System changes.

We also updated our Manual of Patent Office Practice to improve clarity and to include more information about correspondence procedures, the Patent Examination Interview Service, the presentation of sequence listings and the examination of multiple co-pending applications for reissue for the same patent.

As we move away from paper-based processes, CIPO has started to digitize its 1.6 million trademark files. As of March 2019, 10% of trademark files had been converted and added to a digital repository. The digitization process will take place over a 4-year period.

Operational efficiency


Patents: Grants and average annual turnaround times
Patents: Grants and average annual turnaround times
Patents: Grants and average annual turnaround times: Text version
Patents: Grants and average annual turnaround times
Fiscal year Average turnaround times (months) Grants
2014–2015 40.3 23,748
2015–2016 38.8 22,494
2016–2017 36.7 26,960
2017–2018 33.6 24,204
2018–2019 32 23,093

In 2018–2019, CIPO received 39,027 patent applications and granted 23,093 new patents. Over the past 5 years, CIPO has steadily reduced turnaround times. The average turnaround time—that is, the time between a client's request for examination and the moment a patent is granted—was 32 months, down from 33.6 months in 2017–2018 and 40.3 months in 2014–2015.

The Patent Appeal Board, which provides an independent review of rejected patent and industrial design applications, has been facing an increased volume in recent years. In the past year, the Board received 101 rejected patent applications, up from 75 in 2017–2018. On average, the turnaround time for issuing a decision on appeals was 24.9 months, 0.5 months more than last year. An action plan to increase efficiencies in our processes is being implemented.


Trademarks: Registrations and average annual turnaround times
Trademarks: Registrations and average annual turnaround times
Trademarks: Registrations and average annual turnaround times: Text version
Trademarks: Registrations and average annual turnaround times
Fiscal year Average turnaround times (months) Registrations
2014–2015 28.7 25,613
2015–2016 27.4 33,026
2016–2017 26.5 34,164
2017–2018 28.2 26,226
2018–2019 29.8 24,917

In recent years, the volume of trademark applications has steadily risen and the trend continues. In 2018–2019, CIPO received 63,442 trademark applications, up 5% from the previous year, and registered 24,917 trademarks. This increase in applications, along with our efforts to improve quality, has resulted in longer turnaround times for trademark registrations (29.8 months, compared with 28.2 months in the previous year).

To improve timeliness, a new production model has been put in place to forecast trademark application volumes and inventory levels. This information will help us assess and adjust our business processes and resource requirements to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

The TMOB hears cases where an opponent objects to the registration of a trademark or makes a request to have a trademark expunged for non-use. In 2018–2019, the Board experienced longer turnaround times for scheduling hearings and issuing decisions. For example, in March 2019, the average wait time between the request for a trademark opposition proceedings hearing and the hearing date was 16 months, compared with 12 months in March 2018. These delays were due in part to the preparatory work for legislative changes and the upcoming implementation of the trademark treaties.

Industrial designs

Industrial designs: Registrations and average annual turnaround times
Industrial designs: Registrations and average annual turnaround times
Industrial designs: Registrations and average annual turnaround times: Text version
Industrial designs: Registrations and average annual turnaround times
Fiscal year Average turnaround times (months) Registrations
2014–2015 11.8 6,472
2015–2016 10.5 5,670
2016–2017 9.8 5,691
2017–2018 10.5 4,743
2018–2019 12.7 5,542

In 2018–2019, CIPO received 6,139 industrial design applications. In addition, since Canada joined the Hague Agreement in November 2018, the WIPO received 585 industrial design applications destined for Canada, which brings the total of industrial design applications to 6,724 for 2018–2019. On average, the turnaround time from filing to registration was 12.7 months, up from the previous year (10.5 months). Significant changes in office practices resulting from the implementation of the Hague Agreement and modernization initiatives account for this increase. CIPO has established a number of measures, including the recruitment of new examiners and the implementation of a quality assurance program to improve timeliness and quality for industrial design rights. We expect a return to lower turnaround times in the coming years, as we process the accumulated inventory and adjust to the new industrial design regime.

Building IP awareness and education: By equipping innovators in Canada with the IP knowledge they need to succeed

In April 2018, the Government of Canada launched a national IP Strategy. One of its goals is to better equip Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators with the IP knowledge they need to succeed. Launched in May 2017, CIPO's new IP awareness and education program is a key component of the IP Strategy. Our program has 3 pillars: IP for business, IP Academy and IP Hub. In 2018–2019, the program expanded its offerings and tailored products to meet the needs of businesses and innovators in key growth sectors.

IP Hub

Image of CIPO's IP Hub webpage

CIPO's IP Hub helps businesses and innovators navigate through the 4 stages of an IP journey and connect with services in the marketplace.

IP for business

In 2018–2019, we added new tools and resources to our IP Toolbox. A series of "how-to" videos were made available to assist businesses in creating an IP strategy, commercializing IP and enforcing IP rights. Resources on alternative dispute resolution processes are now online to provide businesses with options for settling disputes on IP use and ownership and avoiding costly litigation. We also launched an IP strategy assessment tool in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). This 5-minute questionnaire produces a personalized report to help guide businesses and innovators in developing their IP strategy.

IP Academy

Our IP Academy offers a selection of free, publicly accessible seminars and training delivered by IP experts and CIPO partners. In 2018–2019, we delivered 93 in-person seminars and 15 webinars, attended 97 tradeshows and events, held 441 one-on-one sessions and delivered 65 training sessions to intermediaries, reaching over 5,000 people. Topics ranged from basic knowledge to in-depth subject matter such as IP commercialization, enforcement, exportation and traditional knowledge.

IP Hub

In December 2018, CIPO launched the IP Hub, an ever-growing digital platform where the IP community can exchange useful tools and resources from around the world. Innovators and businesses can navigate through the 4 stages of an IP journey: learning about IP, creating it, protecting it and growing one's business. With more than 300 links, the platform is an important resource for the innovation ecosystem, as it connects businesses and innovators with partners and services in the marketplace.

Expanding our reach through partnerships

Startup Canada's Day on the Hill

Stakeholders participating in Startup Canada's Annual Day on the Hill

On , CIPO participated in Startup Canada's Annual Day on the Hill, where we shared our knowledge and passion for IP with entrepreneurs.

In 2018–2019, CIPO expanded its partner network to promote and increase the reach of its IP awareness and education program. We now have more than 45 partnerships and collaborations with federal government departments, provincial governments, businesses, intermediaries and academia. Through these partnerships, CIPO supports SMEs and innovators in key growth sectors—such as digital technology, advanced manufacturing, clean technology and agri‑food—as well as under-represented groups.

We signed an MOU with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and developed a work plan to raise IP awareness and provide support to SMEs working in the space sector. In partnership with the CSA, we delivered a number of seminars on IP foundations, strategy and commercialization, as well as technology transfer.

With the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, CIPO co‑hosted a symposium to engage Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs on how to better exploit and leverage their intellectual assets. We also presented CIPO's services at the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association's general managers meeting to highlight the benefits of IP protection, and we offered a webinar on IP and traditional knowledge.

We participated in a number of initiatives for women entrepreneurs, including the BDC's WE Talk Business boot camps, a series of 1-day sessions for established women‑led businesses interested in growth. In February 2019, we co-hosted the Empowering Women Entrepreneurs symposium at Osgoode Hall Law School and participated in a round-table at the Canadian Dream Summit to support women-led businesses in protecting and leveraging their IP.

We also expanded our partnership scope with Global Affairs Canada's Trade Commissioner Service and collaborated to deliver IP awareness and training sessions to Trade Commissioner Service officers, as part of the mandatory core training they receive before departing for their overseas postings.

In partnership with the Government of Ontario, our IP advisors offered a variety of seminars, webinars and one-on-one sessions to entrepreneurs in Regional Innovation Centres. We also collaborated with the Government of Quebec to provide IP seminars on protecting IP abroad to the employees of the Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation, to international trade advisors at Export Québec and to SMEs before international trade missions.

Offering a modern service experience: Through e-enabled services and a strong client focus

CIPO is implementing the CIPO Service Strategy to modernize our service delivery and to provide a consistently excellent service experience. Emphasis is being placed on better understanding our clients' needs to inform service design and providing services that are e-enabled, timely and accessible.

Clients first

CIPO's Clients First workshop

Picture of the first cohort of service ambassadors from CIPO's Clients First workshop

The first cohort of service ambassadors from CIPO's Clients First workshop

Improving how we deliver our services requires an ongoing dialogue with clients to understand their evolving needs. Between February and April 2018, we conducted a national survey to establish a baseline of clients' satisfaction with CIPO's patent, trademark and industrial design services. The results were released in September 2018 and indicated that clients are moderately satisfied with CIPO services but that there is room for improvement. Some of our strongest scores were related to our interactions with clients, and specifically our employees' level of professionalism and ability to provide services in either official language.

Based on the results of the survey, we identified a number of priorities for service improvement: IP application status self-service, website design, examiner responsiveness and quality in examination.

CIPO is committed to equipping and empowering employees to deliver quality services with excellence and efficiency. In December 2018, a first cohort of employees participated in CIPO's Clients First workshop. This new 2-day workshop defines the knowledge and behaviours that embody service excellence and arms CIPO employees with the skills and insights to improve service delivery.

Online service improvements

In November 2018, CIPO introduced an improved industrial design e-filing interface as part of Canada's accession to the Hague Agreement and the modernization of its industrial design regime. As a result, e-filings have doubled and now represent about 50% of total industrial design filings. CIPO also finished implementing the WIPO Digital Access Service (DAS) for industrial design applications in March 2019. The DAS is a digital library that makes it easier for participating IP offices to securely exchange priority documents. Our aim is to expand this service to include patent applications after Canada ratifies the Patent Law Treaty in the fall of 2019.

CIPO's online office practice manuals for patents, trademarks and industrial designs were significantly modernized and now feature advanced searching capabilities, improved printing and exporting options and a modern user interface. This provides staff, external clients and stakeholders with easier and quicker access to CIPO's operational procedures and most up-to-date examination practices.

Fostering an agile and high-performing organization: By investing in our staff and our workplace and managing our business with probity

A highly skilled and engaged workforce is at the heart of CIPO's success. We continue to recruit and develop our employees to meet the evolving demands of Canada's IP system and foster a workplace culture that is inclusive and considerate of employee well-being. Together, with strong stewardship and responsible management, we work toward achieving value for money and results for Canadians.

A workforce that meets evolving demands

Meeting our business objectives depends on having the right skills, in the right place, at the right time. In 2018–2019, we hired and trained 8 new patent examiners, as part of a multi-year recruitment effort to hire approximately 65 new patent examiners by 2022.

In October of 2018, we launched a recruitment campaign to attract approximately 30 highly skilled trademark examiners. Improvements to our examiner development program now allow for new trademark examiners to move into production more quickly and effectively. Examiners were also trained on amendments to the Trademarks Act and Trademarks Regulations and the implications of the international treaties on CIPO's policies and office practices.

Canada's accession to the Hague Agreement in November 2018 brought changes to the Industrial Design Act and Industrial Design Regulations that also affected industrial design office practices. All industrial design examiners received training on the Hague Agreement and the various changes to the industrial design regime, e-services and internal work tools.

In 2018–2019, our Trademarks Opposition Board hired 4 new board members and a hearing officer. Our Patent Appeal Board developed a plan to add 3 new board members over 3 years.

In addition to IP advisors already located in Toronto, Waterloo, Halifax and the National Capital Region, we onboarded new IP advisors in Vancouver, Edmonton and Montréal, increasing our presence in regional innovation ecosystems. IP advisors deliver our IP awareness and education program and provide information and guidance to SMEs and innovators on understanding the value of their IP.

CIPO developed a student recruitment strategy to attract and retain the right students for our organizational needs. In 2018–2019, we hired 81 students through the Federal Student Work Experience Program and co-op programs. We provided them with a meaningful work experience, encouraged their mobility within CIPO and helped them feel supported and included through student onboarding activities and events.

CIPO is committed to providing quality services to Canadians in the official language of their choice and to fostering a bilingual workplace. In 2018–2019, we implemented a strategy to increase the official language fluency of employees in supervisory and managerial positions. At the end of March 2019, more than 80% of these positions were fully bilingual, compared with 59% the previous year. Our objective is to reach 90% by the end of 2020.

A healthy and inclusive workplace

A pledge to support mental health at CIPO

Picture of members of CIPO's senior management team that have signed the #MentalHealth pledge

To show our commitment to creating an inclusive, healthy and respectful workplace, CIPO's senior management team signed the #MentalHealth pledge. By making the pledge, CIPO vows to create a culture that enshrines psychological health, safety and well-being in all aspects of the workplace through collaboration, inclusivity and respect.

CIPO is committed to fostering a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. In 2018–2019, we continued to build a positive work environment that promotes mental well-being and inclusion. Throughout the year, we offered a series of activities and training sessions to raise employee awareness of mental health in the workplace. One initiative, launched in February 2019, was the 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge, a daily 5-minute online training session aimed at reducing stress, increasing resilience and improving overall well-being. By the end of March 2019, 124 employees had taken up the challenge.

Our senior management team also participated in training on inclusive leadership that focused on how personal biases can unknowingly affect decision-making, and the strategies to identify and change them.

A modern work environment

The Government of Canada is retooling its work environments to encourage collaboration and provide greater flexibility in where and how employees work. CIPO has begun work to modernize its workspace over the next 5 years to provide a modern, connected, healthy and collaborative work environment for all employees.

As we continue to modernize our information technology (IT) infrastructure, we are looking at using technology in smarter ways. We aim to create a modern IT environment that enables self-sufficiency, user and task centricity, consistent quality, responsiveness and efficiency. As of March 2019, CIPO has delivered on a third (8 of the 25) of its IT‑related projects and expended a quarter of its planned investments as part of a multi-year IT modernization initiative.

Excellence in management

In January 2017, ISED published the findings of an internal evaluation assessing the relevance and performance of CIPO's patent services. In March 2018, ISED released an audit report on the adequacy and effectiveness of the management control framework for our Trademarks Branch. The result was a series of recommendations meant to improve how CIPO conducts its business and works to achieve its objectives. CIPO is actively working on all of the recommendations, most of which are either completed or underway.

CIPO's approach to financial management balances the resource requirements to deliver on ongoing operational activities while making key investments in corporate priorities and infrastructure. Our annual financial audit resulted in an unqualified audit opinion for the 24th consecutive year. Our long-term financial planning enables us to make informed decisions and to establish realistic and targeted goals to continually improve efficiency and productivity.

Looking ahead

As CIPO approaches the halfway point of its Five-Year Business Strategy 2017–2022, we remain focused on modernizing Canada's IP system and further harmonizing it with international standards.

Building on the successful implementation of quality management practices for our patent processes, we are putting in place an organization-wide quality management framework for all lines of business. This will enable us to constantly improve the quality and cost effectiveness of our services and to be responsive to our clients' needs.

We will continue to deliver IP education programs and tools to help businesses unlock the value of their IP and use it to grow to scale.

CIPO is recognized internationally as a modern, leading IP office that provides high-quality and timely IP rights and serves its clients well. We are a trusted source of IP information and knowledge for Canadian businesses and innovators and, in partnership with others in the IP ecosystem, we are helping to make Canada a global centre of innovation.

Additional information

Financial information



Industrial designs


General statistics

Client service standards