A Governance Framework for IP Agents

Consultation period

May 24, 2016 to June 13, 2016—Draft Code of Conduct
May 24, 2016 to August 31, 2016—Governance Model and Disciplinary Process
June 23, 2016 to August 31, 2016—Revised Draft Interim Code of Conduct

Consultations on a Governance Framework for Intellectual Property Agents Extended

The consultations launched in May 2016, by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, in conjunction with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), on a governance framework for the intellectual property agent profession have been extended.  Interested persons are invited to provide views on the revised code of conduct (which takes into account views expressed during earlier consultations), the disciplinary process and the three proposed governance models by August 31, 2016.

Consultation Update:

On June 24, 2016, section 16.1 of the Patent Act and section 51.13 of the Trade-marks Act enter into force, providing statutory protection for confidential communications between intellectual property agents and their clients.

A draft code of conduct was published as part of consultations on a governance framework for IP agents. While the consultation period on the draft code of conduct closed on June 13, 2016, consultations on three proposed governance models are ongoing and comments will be received until August 31, 2016, and published afterward.

This revised version of the code of conduct takes into consideration comments received during the consultation period and is intended as a provisional guidance document for agents in the exercise of their duties and responsibilities towards their clients, including in the application of the statutory privilege.

Recognizing the interim nature of the draft code, further submissions on the code, including any of the amended sections listed below, will continue to be accepted until August 31, 2016, and be published afterward.

  • a new disclaimer above the definitions section
  • revised definition of "client"
  • confidentiality – revisions to 2.2, 2.7, and addition of 2.8, 2.9, 2.10
  • conflict of interest exception - rule 3.2
  • concurrent representation - rule 3.4 (under review)
  • business transactions with clients - rule 3.8 (under review)
  • fees – revision to commentary – rule 5
  • advertising – revised principle – rule 9
  • unauthorized practice – rule 10

Other changes of an editorial nature were made to correct grammar where necessary.

Consultation documents

Comments received


The intellectual property (IP) system plays an important role in facilitating innovation and promoting a strong and dynamic Canadian economy. To this end, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), in conjunction with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), is launching a consultation with a view to updating the regulatory framework for the patent and trademark agent professions. This consultation will build upon the "Modernizing the IP Community" consultation that was conducted by CIPO in 2013–2014, as well as legislation put in place last year.

Consultation and discussion

The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on a proposed values and ethics framework for the IP profession, and on governance models to administer the values and ethics framework.

The values and ethics framework involves a code of conduct and a disciplinary process to enforce the code. This framework would be administered by a regulator that would be established to oversee the IP agent profession. This regulator would be responsible for maintaining the code of conduct, and enforcing the code through the disciplinary process.

The consultation documents outline three possible governance models for the regulator: an administrative agency model; a mixed-model; and a self-regulatory model. Also included is an outline for a disciplinary process and a draft code of conduct, which is based on the IPIC Draft Code of Conduct with sections from the Federation of Law Societies of Canada Model Code of Professional Conduct.

Submission of comments and contact information

ISED and CIPO request that answers to the included questions and any general comments on the proposed draft code of conduct be submitted by June 13, 2016. The comment period has been abbreviated in recognition of the fact that the draft code has been the subject of previous consultations. Answers to questions and general comments relating to the remainder of the consultation paper, including the governance model and disciplinary process, must be submitted by August 31, 2016 to be considered.

Please submit all responses to Denis Martel, Director of Patent Policy, Strategic Policy Sector, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada at denis.martel@canada.ca. Note that all comments will be posted on this website for three months following the end of the consultation period.

Should you have any questions about this consultation, please send them by email to denis.martel@canada.ca or by phone to 343-291-2686.