A Comprehensive Admission Process to Sustain Excellence
“Sustaining Excellence” because the current qualification requirements to become a patent or trademark agent have already resulted in a strong profession. The profession has the skills to answer the needs of clients. Yet, as observed in IPIC consultations and CIPO’s Modernizing the IP Community project, there is general agreement in the profession that the admission process could be improved, to the benefit of trainees and of the public interest.
IPIC proposes that the College build upon the current process by implementing the recommendations from the Modernizing the IP Community report and adding other enhancements.
Changes to the current situation
- Currently, CIPO administers the qualifying exams and provides some of the members of the Examining Boards. IPIC supplies most members of the Examining Boards. IPIC members annually provide over 1,500 hours of professional expertise for the preparation and marking of the exams.
- The responsibility for the exams would be transferred from CIPO to the College and the exam fees would be paid to that organization.
Summary of Modernizing the IP Community recommendations
To improve the process, both for candidates and for those who administer the exams, and test certain elements, the report recommended that:
- A “pre-screening” examination that tests the core knowledge be added so as to ensure that candidates have sufficient knowledge to proceed to the substantive papers.
- Limits on the carry-forward time and/or attempts allowed to pass the exams, and increasing fees with additional attempts, should be implemented.
- The scope of the examinations should be expanded to include relevant aspects of foreign IP law and practice, and values and ethics.
A clear curriculum should be written to guide the training until the exams are passed; this curriculum could perhaps include some mandatory courses, for example on ethical issues.