ISED Business Assistant – Frequently asked questions

1. What is the ISED Business Assistant chatbot?

In the spring of 2019, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) launched a mobile application called Canada Business to support small business owners in navigating government programs and services, while providing tailored recommendations and personalized notifications on funding applications.

The Canada Business app release included a chatbot component, the ISED Business Assistant, to assist businesses in quickly finding the information they need the most without the need to browse through multiple federal and provincial websites. The ISED chatbot is able to answer a variety of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on government programs and services, including the most requested intellectual property (IP) questions.

Although the chatbot is still learning about ISED and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), there are many advantages in using the Business Assistant:

  • you can get answers to your questions without having to navigate a large set of FAQ web pages
  • you can ask your questions as if you were speaking to a person
  • you can interact with CIPO in real-time without having to wait in a queue
  • the chatbot is available 24 hours a day to provide support during non-business hours
  • during business hours, live agents are on stand-by to respond to your enquiry should the Business Assistance not be able to provide you with the answer that you are looking for

2. How does the ISED Business Assistant work?

The ISED chatbot operates through a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and rules sets that provide a conversational experience that resembles an interaction with a real person in a written format.

On , general content on patents, trademarks, industrial designs and copyrights were introduced in the ISED Business Assistant to expand its knowledge base. CIPO is piloting the chatbot to better assist small businesses in finding the information they need on IP.

In its current stage, the Business Assistant is still "in training" and will not have all the answers. The ISED chatbot aims at better understanding the questions being asked by clients to continuously improve its AI technology in providing the best answers to your questions. The more questions you ask, the more knowledgeable the chatbot gains and the more interactive it becomes. New content is added on a regular basis to improve your experience.

3. What can I ask the chatbot?

The ISED Business Assistant is currently programmed to answer general questions on IP. Here are a few topics covered under this first release:

  • basic definition of the different types of IP
  • fee information
  • terms of protection
  • access to online forms
  • assistance on hiring an IP professional

We understand that the same question can be asked in multiple ways. To ensure that the chatbot is providing the appropriate answer, it is really important that you ask questions as you would to a real person.

Good questions: How much are patent maintenance fees? How much does it cost to maintain a patent?

Bad questions: Patent maintenance fees? Patent fees?

Do not share any confidential information with the chatbot. For more information about privacy, please view the privacy notice.

4. What if the chatbot is unable to answer your question?

If you see that the ISED Business Assistant is unable to provide an answer to your question, you can:

  • rephrase your question
  • request to connect to a live agent during business hours by typing "live agent"
  • reach CIPO using the following alternate methods:

Do not forget to provide your feedback on your experience so that we can feed the chatbot with more relevant content, improve the service and better meet your needs.

5. How do switch languages when chatting with the chatbot?

You may ask a question in the other official language at any point during the conversation with the chatbot. You will need to select the language you wish to switch to from the top left-hand menu drop-down list. Please note, the chatbot will not answer questions in the opposite language unless the language is selected from the drop-down menu.

A demonstration of how you can change the language of the chatbot.