Technical Consultation Paper on Changes to Patent Fees
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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.
The 2015 edition of the Economic Action Plan introduced additional changes to the Patent Act, the Trade-marks Act and the Industrial Design Act to further modernize the administration of IP rights. These changes will ensure Canada's IP regime is aligned with modern business practices and increase clarity and legal certainty for users of the IP system.
Joining the Patent Law Treaty and implementing certain patent-related elements of the 2015 Economic Action Plan requires changes to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's (CIPO) service offering which in turn necessitates specific changes in CIPO's current fee structure. These changes have 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 this IP treaty 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 Patent Law Treaty and the 2015 Economic Action Plan will have an effect on CIPO's fee structure.
This document focuses on the proposed changes to CIPO's patent fee structure and the fees subject to review through the UFA process. This includes the implementation of new late fees associated with the provision of additional “periods of grace” to comply with the Patent Law Treaty, as well as changes to fee-related services in respect of correcting errors in a patent and making amendments to an application after it has been deemed allowable.
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 patent 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.
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