Fee-for-service proposal – Trademarks
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From: Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Following on the 2014 Economic Action Plan commitment to modernize Canada's intellectual property (IP) framework, the Patent Act, the Trade-marks Act and the Industrial Design Act have been amended to allow Canada to join five international IP treaties (Patent Law Treaty, Madrid Protocol, Singapore Treaty, Nice Agreement, Hague Agreement). Implementing these international IP treaties will provide Canadian businesses with a competitive advantage thanks to reduced administrative burden and harmonized IP procedures.
Joining the Singapore Treaty, Madrid Protocol and Nice Agreement, however, requires changes to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's (CIPO) service offerings which in turn necessitate a change to CIPO's current fee structure. This change has triggered the process imposed by the User Fees Act (UFA). The organization needs to change its fee structure so that it can keep pace with international standards and recommended practices, and continue to deliver high-quality and timely IP products and services to Canadians. Canada's major trading partners have implemented these IP treaties and have instituted similar fee structures to what CIPO is proposing.
As a special operating agency of the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED), CIPO provides services on a fee-for-service basis and manages revenues and costs within a revolving fund. The revolving fund has a financial management structure similar to that of a private business. It must therefore generate sufficient funds to meet its expenses since it receives no funding from Parliament. Not all of the changes to CIPO's service offering required to implement the treaties will have an effect on CIPO's fee structure.
This document focuses on the proposed changes to CIPO's trademark fee structure and the fees subject to review through the UFA process, namely the merging of the application and registration fees, the implementation of the Nice Classification and an increase in the renewal fee.
Under the UFA, federal departments that wish to make changes to their fee structure must go through a process that involves public consultations, complaints resolution and parliamentary review. Before the implementation of the new trademark fee-for-service structure, the fees will be subject to public scrutiny through the consultation process. Following parliamentary review and the completion of the regulatory process, CIPO's new fee structure can take effect.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office is a special operating agency of the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. Its chief responsibility is to administer Canada's intellectual property regime by accepting and assessing applications for patents, trademarks, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies.
CIPO's primary clients are applicants for IP protection, agents representing those applicants, users of the IP system and the business community. The fees paid by these clients fund all of CIPO's activities. This self-funded status is an important factor that guides all of CIPO's planning and operational decisions and creates a strong incentive to be effective, efficient and responsive to those seeking to obtain IP rights.
In 2014, the Government of Canada announced its decision to have Canada join five IP treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)Footnote 1. CIPO is charged with the implementation of these treaties and as a consequence, must make some modifications to its fee structure as it relates to trademarks and patents.
This consultation aims to explain to stakeholders the reasons for the proposed changes to the trademark fee structure related to the implementation of the treaties in order to satisfy the requirements of the User Fees Act (UFA). The UFA requires that any federal body that introduces new fees or increases existing fees provide the public with an opportunity to make its views known prior to applying any fee change or establishing new fees.
In addition to presenting the trademark fee-for-service proposal, this document provides supporting information including:
- why CIPO is proposing changes to its trademarks schedule of fees;
- how the trademark treaties are being implemented;
- how the proposed new fees were established; and
- an impact assessment and proposed service standards.
This discussion document will focus exclusively on changes to the trademarks schedule of fees. The posting of this document marks the beginning of an official notice period, during which clients and stakeholders may submit input about the trademark fee-for-service proposal. To assist those wishing to provide feedback on the proposal, CIPO has prepared guidelines on how to participate.
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