Canada. Patent Office : The Patent Branch receives, processes, classifies and examines applications for patents. It also registers assignments or changes of ownership, processes allowances, collects fees and publishes information on patents. The Patent Branch is the largest operation, generating 78 per cent of revenues at CIPO. The mandate of Patent Branch is to grant patents which will result in the protection of the inventor and dissemination of technical information, and the encouragement of the creation, adoption and exploitation of inventions. The primary clients of the Patent Branch are national and international patent applicants, the vast majority of whom are represented by a patent agent. The client list of the Branch also includes: interested third parties, searchers, researchers, scientists, statisticians, economists, inventors, entrepreneurs, innovators, the patent profession, research institutes, international organizations, universities, foreign offices, and national and international IP associations.
Up until the year 1991, there was a Canadian Patent Office, directed by a Commissioner of Patents, which was the federal agency responsible for granting patents in Canada. The role of the Patent Office, as an operational and administrative entity, was to encourage the creation, adoption and exploitation of Canadian inventions by granting patents and disseminating the technological information from its patent data. Today, although the term "Patent Office" is generally used to describe patenting functions within CIPO, and although these functions have not changed in any perceptible way, they are actually distributed among a number of branches within the Agency, namely the Patent Branch, the Information & Technology Exploitation General Common Services Branch, and the Patent Appeal Board (PAB).
The Patent Act of 1869 applied only to the four provinces of the New Dominion (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario) and stipulated that the Patent Office would continue to be a branch of the Department of Agriculture (32-33 Vic., Chap. 16). In 1906, under the Revised Statutes of Canada, a consolidation of the Act, with amendments, was made (R.S.C. 1906, Chap. 69). In 1918, the Department of Trade and Commerce assumed jurisdiction of the Patent Office as well as the Industrial Design Branch, the Copyright Branch, the Trade Mark Branch, and Timber Marks. The new Patent Act of 1923 repealed the Revised Statute of 1906. On the same date, Canada's adherence to the International Convention for the Protection of Intellectual Property was secured (13-14 Geo. V, Chap. 23). Four years later, in 1927, the Secretary of State assumed control of the Patent Office from the Department of Trade and Commerce. The period 1966-67 saw the Registrar General being given administration over the Patent Office. With the creation of the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (CCA) at the same time, however, the Office of the Registrar General, including its newly-acquired responsibilities for patents, was transferred to the jurisdiction of CCA. In 1973, a Bureau of Intellectual Property was established within CCA in order to "provide a coordinated approach to the Department's responsibilities for patents, copyrights, trade marks and industrial design." Finally, in 1992, CIPO became a Special Operating Agency (SOA) within the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, with CCA becoming part of Industry Canada in 1994.
Among other things, the roles and functions of the Patent Branch are to receive and examine applications for patents and grant patents to qualifying applicants; ensure that a patent application contains subject matter which is novel, has utility, and involves inventive ingenuity in accordance with requirements of the Patent Act, the Patent Rules, and relevant Canadian jurisprudence; ensure that an inventor currently seeking protection can expect to obtain exclusive rights to make, use, and sell an invention for up to twenty (20) years from the date of filing of a patent application; ensure that all applications filed pursuant to the amended Patent Act (ie. filed after October 1, 1989) are laid open to public inspection eighteen (18) months after the filing date or the priority date; and otherwise record assignments of patents.
In general terms then, within CIPO, the Patent Branch is responsible for activities under the Patent Act leading to the granting of patents in Canada. It is also responsible for other activities such as the participation in programs related to the dissemination of technical patent information and public education, the publication of the Canadian Patent Office Record, the maintenance of registers and the administration of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The key functions are patent registration, examination, processing registration of assignments (ownership changes), the collection of fees such as maintenance fees and publication of patent-related information. RDA 97/002 Department of Industry Canadian Patenting Functions within the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (appraisal report)
CIPO Annual Report, 2000-2001, p. 8.
Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Annual Report, 1971/72.