CIPO Patent Quality Conversation

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Patent Quality Overview and Upcoming CIPO Patent Quality Summit
Marie Quinn, Program Manager — Quality, Patent Branch

Welcome to the first CIPO Patent Quality Conversation!

Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer.

Rick Pitino

Agenda for Today's Conversation


The purpose of these conversations is to engage you, our stakeholders, and collaborate with you in an effort to continually improve the quality of our patent products, processes and services.

Quality at CIPO

An effective IP system — one that delivers quality and timely IP rights and improves certainty in the marketplace — is a foundational element of Canada's innovation and economic achievements.

Quality is one of the 5 pillars in our Five-Year Business Strategy 2017-2022:

  • Advance innovation
  • Deliver quality and timely IP rights
  • Build IP awareness and education
  • Offer a modern service experience
  • Foster an agile and high-performing organization

CIPO Five-Year Business Strategy 2017-2022

Deliver Quality and Timely IP Rights

  • Provide IP rights and services that reflect client expectations, market needs and respect the public interest
  • Be recognized as a quality-based organization
  • Modernize our practices, processes and tools

Why is Quality Important to you?

Patents are valuable business assets

  • Innovators and businesses entering new markets want to know that the value of their innovation is recognized and protected.
  • It is vital to creating certainty in the marketplace and enhancing the ability of a business to secure financing or attract investment.

Quality patents make protection of patented products and processes easier

Why is Quality Important to CIPO?

Quality patents create certainty in the marketplace and stimulates innovation

  • The timely issuance of quality IP protection supports a well-functioning market and contributes to a business environment that cultivates new ideas, technologies, services and products.

CIPO wants you to have a high quality and timely product

  • We strive to meet the needs of our clients through an ongoing commitment to continuous process improvement, clear quality criteria and transparent service standards.

CIPO Patent Quality

Patent branch Quality Management System (QMS)

Patent branch by the numbers
figure 1
Text equivalent of Patent branch by the numbers
  • >600 employees
  • 37,500 applications for patents received each year
  • 22,500 Patents Granted Annually
  • $75 Million Annual Revenues
  • 1300 pieces of correspondence mailed out to clients daily
  • 1250 Service tasks processed daily

Quality Team

Quality team

  • Core group of 10 including Program Manager, Project Coordinators, ISO Coordinator, Mapping team

Quality steering Committee (QSC)

  • Comprises senior executives including the Director General of Patents, Examination Directors, Practice and International Program Managers

Quality Working Group

  • Comprises examiners and supervisors from each Division

CIPO Patent Branch is ISO 9001:2015 certified since March 2017

Key Quality Objectives

  • Quality
  • Timeliness
  • Efficiency

Quality Policy and Patent Examination Quality Standards

Quality Policy

The Patent Branch is committed to ensuring a consistent client experience that delivers quality patent products and services in an efficient and timely manner, creating certainty in the marketplace and stimulating innovation.

The Quality Management System ensures:

  • That our quality objectives are met;
  • That national products and services adhere to the requirements of the Patent Act and Rules;
  • That international products and services adhere to the Patent Cooperation Treaty and Regulations;
  • A better understanding of clients' needs and expectations; and
  • Continual improvement of our processes to meet expectations on quality, cost and timeliness.

Responsible management of the quality management system assures oversight, strategic direction and stewardship fostering a culture of excellence, inclusiveness, employee engagement and development.

PDCA Cycle

figure 2
PDCA Cycle
Text equivalent of PDCA Cycle


  • Quality Working Group
  • Project Coordinator
  • Mapping team
  • Quality Team
  • EOWG


  • Pilot Project
  • LEAN projects
  • The regular work
  • Process Mappings


  • 2PC
  • Internal Audits
  • QC, QA results
  • Pilot project results
  • Search Record analysis
  • Client and employee feedback


  • Management Accountability
  • Quality Steering Committee

Patent Quality Metrics

To ensure patent quality, we measure the quality of our products, processes and services:


  • QA/QC
  • Search records


  • Timeliness
  • Inventories
  • Internal and External Audit


  • Surveys
  • Feedback
  • Complaints

Quality Products

Ensuring Quality Products

Examination Work Products
  • National Products: Reports and Allowances
    • Quality Control
    • Reporting and continuous improvement, such as:
      • Additional training, improvements to examiner tools, update of QC questions, investigation into any inconsistencies
  • International Products: ISR/WO and IPRP
    • Quality Control and Quality Assurance
    • Reporting and continuous improvement, such as:
      • Additional training, implementation of checklists, update of QC questions
Search Records
  • Complete search records provided with Examiner Reports
    • We share all of our search information including databases used and search strings so you know what was searched, where it was searched and how it was searched
  • We collect search information so that we can analyze the data and continually improve our search reports and search quality

CIPO Patent Quality

Quality Processes

Ensuring Quality Processes

Internal Audits

Process improvements through identification of opportunities for improvement and correction of nonconformities

  • Process audits
    • Risk based internal audit approach – auditing higher risk processes more often
    • Certified internal auditors
    • Improvements include: update to QC tools, awareness training, updated process flows and software tools, improvement in international PCT mailings, etc.
    • More improvement projects planned and on-going!
Quality Management System Audits
  • Internal audit exchange with other government department
  • Certified internal auditors
External Audits
  • ISO 9001:2015 certified in March 2017
  • Successfully passed ISO Surveillance Audit in April 2018
  • Next Surveillance Audit in March 2019
Lean methodology

Maximizing customer value while minimising waste

  • Improving processes and making them more efficient
    • Time to process incoming correspondence reduced
    • Section 8 process improvement
    • Standardized applicant naming convention – reduction in errors
  • Implementation of Problem Solving Boards – engaging employees to help identify issues and solve problems
  • CIPO Lean Centre of Excellence
Process Mappings and Work Instructions
  • All 185 examination and operations processes have been mapped and include work instructions
  • Ensures consistency in processes
  • Examination Mapping Review Group (EMRG)
  • Operations Mapping Review Group (OMRG)
  • Maps are regularly reviewed and approved by the review groups
  • Initial and Ongoing training programs
  • In-person, WebEx and e-learning
  • Search Collaboration Workshops
  • Technical seminars
  • Industry Training visits
  • Regular Examiner Bulletins and Operations Bulletins
  • Regular meetings at every level
Industry Training Visits
  • Examiners update their knowledge in the relevant art through direct interaction with inventors, scientists, engineers and other experts in the field
  • The result is the improved quality and efficiency of the patent application examination process

Developing Best Practices Through Collaboration

Vancouver Group
  • CIPO, IP Australia, United Kingdom IP Offices
  • Searching Working Group – improving searching quality and consistency
Meeting of International Authorities & Quality Subgroup
  • Strengthening our International Quality Management System
    • Incorporating risk based thinking to prioritize improvement efforts and reduce risk
  • Paired QMS reviews
    • Identification of best practices and knowledge sharing
Collaborations with other IP Offices
  • USPTO's Office for Patent Quality – sharing of best practices and quality related initiatives
ISO Network
  • Meeting with other ISO certified departments to share information and develop best practices

Client Service Excellence

Ensuring Client Service Excellence

Patent Examination Interview Service
  • Better communication between examiners and clients
  • Reduced turn-around times
Online Feedback Mechanism (OFM)
  • Resolution of identified issues
  • Analysis of feedback for continuous improvement
    • Lean project to improvement incoming correspondence
    • Review of outgoing correspondence processes
Client Contact Database
  • Analysis of inquiries made to CIPO's Client Service Centre
CIPO Client Satisfaction Survey
  • We heard you and now are working to address your concerns
  • Key findings include:
    • Quality and consistency during the examination process;
    • Ease and efficiency of the application process;
    • Going the extra mile to ensure clients receive what they need; and
    • Overall timeliness in receiving registration or grant of an application
National Patent Products Survey
  • Examiner Reports – see link at the bottom of every report
  • Your chance to tell us what you think of our products!
  • Interview Service implemented in part to address comments received
Interview Service Pilot Survey
  • Based on positive data analysis and survey results, Interview Service was implemented in June of 2017
Engaging our Stakeholders
  • CIPO Patent Quality Summit – Coming !
    • Panel discussions
    • Workshops
      • Defining Patent Quality –
        What does Patent Quality mean to you?
      • Patent Quality Metrics & Dashboards –
        Provide input!
  • CIPO Patent Quality Conversations
    Next Conversation
    • Learn what happened at our Patent Quality Summit in February and about Next Steps

CIPO Patent Quality Summit

Fostering Innovation by advancing patent quality

The CIPO Patent Quality Summit aims to foster innovation through enhancing patent quality by:

  • Engaging participants on quality related topics through panel discussions
  • Collecting participant feedback on how they define patent quality and what they would like to see in terms of metrics and reporting
  • Encouraging networking and sharing of perspectives regarding patent quality

Summit – Venue

Canada Science and Technology Museum
1867 St Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, Ontario

Summit – Agenda


Keynote Address

Panel Discussions

  • Search and Patent Quality
    • AI, Databases, Search tools, client and examiner searching, comprehensive searching, etc.
  • Obstacles to Patent Quality
    • Quality vs timeliness vs cost, etc.


CIPO Patent Quality Presentation


  • Defining Patent quality
  • Monitoring Patent Quality through Dashboards

Summit – Guest Panelists

  • Ian Wetherbee — Engineering Lead for Google Patents
  • Berry deBruijn — Researcher, National Research Council
  • Alexandra Daoud — Patent Agent and Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Greg Vidovich — Associate Commissioner for Patent Quality, USPTO
  • Jenna Wilson — Patent Agent, Partner at Wilson Lue, and Chair of the Patent Practice Committee
  • Catherine Eckenswiller — Legal Counsel, VBI Vaccines Inc.

Panel 3: Listening to our clients

Do you have any questions you want answered?

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Feedback / Questions

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Quality Conversation Topics

To suggest topics for an upcoming Patent Quality Conversation, please email us at: