Practice notice on required signatures

This notice is to clarify requirements for patent agents' signatures on documents submitted to the Patent Office.

Under the College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents Act (CPATA), a patent agent is defined as an individual who holds a patent agent licence or a patent agent in training licence issued by the College. As of , the Patent Act has been amended to the effect that its definition of a patent agent matches that of the CPATA. Since a patent agent is now defined as an individual person, a firm that employs patent agents is no longer considered to be a patent agent in and of itself.

Therefore, in circumstances where the signature of a patent agent may have an effect under the Patent Rules, the signature must bear the name of an individual patent agent. A signature containing the name of a firm is no longer acceptable under the Patent Act and Patent Rules.

The above guidance applies to:

  • signatures on Small Entity Declarations (SEDs);
  • documents revoking the appointment of a patent agent;
  • and documents appointing or revoking the appointment of an associate patent agent.  

Please note that if a non-compliant SED is submitted at the filing or national phase entry of the application, and a General Authorization Statement (GAS) is submitted along with the application, the Patent Office will employ the GAS to deduct the difference between the small entity and standard filing or basic national fees.

In such cases, if the applicant feels that they are entitled to pay fees at the small entity rate, they are encouraged to submit an SED that is compliant with subsection 44(3) of the Patent Rules. Fees due subsequent to the submission of a compliant SED would then be accepted at the small entity rate. However, the difference between the small entity and standard fees for filing or national phase entry, paid prior to the submission of a compliant SED, would not be refundable under section 139 of the Patent Rules