Proposed changes to Patent and Trade-mark Agent Examinations

Proposed regulations were published in the Canada Gazette relating to the patent agent and trade-mark agent examinations. The proposed changes include requiring lawyers to write the trademark agent exam to become agents and introducing more flexibility for running the patent agent exam.

In the September 29, 2012 Canada Gazette, proposed rule changes were published relating to the Patent Rules and Trade-marks Regulations. CIPO has a page discussing the proposed changes.

Currently, lawyers who practise in the area of trade-mark law, including the preparation and prosecution of applications for registration of trade-marks, for a period of at least 24 months, can become a trade-mark agent without writing the trade-mark agent examination. The proposed rules would remove this exemption and require everyone to write the examination to become a trade-mark agent. Existing trade-mark agents would not need to write the examination to maintain their status under the proposed rules.

The changes to the Patent Rules are directed to the “steady decline in first time pass rates of the patent agent qualifying examination” and the apparent lack of experience. The proposed changes include increasing the amount of experience required before a candidate can write the exam. The proposed rules also allow more flexibility in scheduling of the examination and restrict the ability of candidates to withdraw from the examination.

Comments may be submitted within 30 days of the publication in the Canada Gazette. CIPO previously consulted on these issues in 2009.