The last of a package of amendments to the Patent Rules and Trade-marks Regulations relating to patent and trade-mark agents came into force today. The changes relate to experience requirements, examinations and staying on the register.

Most of the changes came into force on April 1, 2014 but some of the changes to the Patent Rules only came into force today, after this year’s patent examination in April. CIPO highlights the changes coming into force.

Some of the more significant changes in this year’s changes include removing the exception for lawyers from the requirement to write the trademark agent exam, and increasing the experience required to write the patent agent examination from 12 months to 24 months.

Existing trade-mark agents are grandfathered in and can keep their status as trade-mark agents even if they never wrote the exam. Note that if a lawyer who never wrote the exam under the previous exceptions is removed from the list of trademark agents for failure to pay the renewal fee, they must write the exam to be reinstated – see s.23 of the amended Trade-marks Regulations.

The Rules and Regulations do not require that renewal notices be sent by CIPO to existing patent and trade-mark agents. Existing patent and trade-mark agents must pay the annual renewal fees between January 1 and March 31 each year or face removal.

See my earlier post from December 2013 with more details and links to the changes.