CIPO set to favour online procedures with preferential fees

Canada

In order to promote its streamlined online procedures, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has announced that as of January 1 2004, it will offer reduced fees to those filing trademark applications and renewing registrations online.

In late 2002 the CIPO started accepting online trademark applications. However, the system was not widely used at first because:

  • the online application was cumbersome and not user-friendly;

  • the forms were incomplete;

  • the completed applications were cluttered and not aesthetically pleasing, meaning that they could not be forwarded directly to clients; and

  • the system was not cost-effective.

Since then the CIPO has streamlined its online procedures, offering for instance application serial numbers within a few hours, and the filing certificate and proof sheet by the next business day. This is far better than the six to eight week processing period experienced with paper filing. Online filing also renders redundant the process of reporting the filing of the application, recording the necessary files and then reexamining them in order to report the filing certificate two months later. In addition, it is not necessary to forward a copy of the cluttered online application to the client. Agents merely forward the filing certificate and proof sheet for review.

The completion of the application itself remains slower than the standard paper forms and the process remains cumbersome when filing complex applications that rely on several bases of entitlement. However, the CIPO has advised that using the online application in these instances particularly reduces (i) the likelihood of error, and (ii) processing delays as there is no need to re-enter data manually.

Another online service is the possibility, since January 31 2003, for agents to renew registrations online. It is also possible to order documents online, including certified copies of documents or specific file correspondence, such as examiner's reports.

John S Macera, Macera & Jarzyna - Moffat & Co, Ottawa

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