Conflicted Regulation, the Public Interest and Canadian Patent Agency – Patent Agent Regulation at a Crossroads (Part 2)
(2020) 32 I.P.J. 171
32 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2019 Last revised: 20 May 2020
Date Written: June 18, 2019
The Canadian government has recently tabled legislation for self-governance of the Canadian patent and trademark agent professions, thereby creating the Canadian College of Patent and Trademark Agents. As such, regulation of the Canadian patent and trademark agent professions might become unique amongst comparable countries – Canada’s self-regulatory body may have authority over setting and administering competency-based standards, ethical standards and continuing professional education.
With respect to patent agency, self-regulation of the Canadian profession comes at a pivotal time, not just for Canada, but in technological history generally. We are now moving into the age of the fourth Industrial Revolution, where file sharing, additive manufacturing (i.e. 3D printing) and artificial intelligence (AI) are democratizing invention and along with it challenging long-standing patent law concepts. Furthermore, developments in AI are set to disrupt our traditional notions of professionalization and the delivery of professional services. Patent agency rests on the nexus of both movements and as such, patent agency and patent agent self-governance are approaching unique historical crossroads.
Part 2 of this piece critically analyzes the new College of Patent Agents and Trade-mark Agents Act [College Act] in view of the issues and concerns set out under Part 1. Part 2 argues that a responsive regulation approach to patent agent governance is required to ensure that Canadian patent agency remains open and flexible to the challenges ahead. From this perspective, Part 2 assesses the ways in which the proposed College Act appears to achieve the necessary responsiveness and where it falls short. In some instances, the analysis under Part 2 will also provide proposed revisions or additions to the College Act intended to better address the concerns set out under Part 1.
Keywords: intellectual property, governance, patents
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