An Important Message from the IPIC Insurance Committee
Chair of the IPIC Insurance Committee Tim Lowman has provided an important update regarding insurance coverage for the profession, in terms of requirements laid out by the College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents (CPATA). All IPIC Members need to take note of the resolution of the CPATA Board and its subsequent notice to the profession regarding insurance which must be obtained and maintained by CPATA members for the 2022 policy year. The relevant part of the Resolution is:
Whereas s. 34 of the CPATA Act mandates licensees be insured against professional liability;
And whereas it is in the public interest that the requirement for insurance be based on known and foreseeable risks;
And whereas the provision of patent and trademark services by licensees involves intellectual property rights and interests that extend beyond Canada, even if those rights are only initially registered in Canada;
And whereas it is imperative licensees acquire sufficient insurance to address the known and foreseeable risks associated with their individual or their firm’s practices;
And whereas the obligation of CPATA is to set minimum levels of insurance applicable to licensees, while recognizing minimum levels will not be adequate to address known and foreseeable risks associated with the practices of many licensees and their firms;
Be it resolved under s. 75(1)(q) and (r) mandatory professional liability insurance requirements will be:
- Commencing in 2022, Class 1 and Class 3 licensees, providing patent or trademark services to the public, must be insured under a liability insurance policy provided by an insurance company licensed in Canada, that will indemnify for civil liability arising from the licensee acting as a patent agent or a trademark agent;
- The limit of liability is a minimum of $1.0 million per claim and a $2.0 million aggregate;
- The liability insurance policy must cover claims made outside of Canada; and
- These requirements will be satisfied so long as inception of coverage under a liability insurance policy meeting the requirements commences in 2022. (Emphasis added)
IPIC Members should know that the longstanding and successful IPIC policy of professional liability insurance complies fully with all of the above CPATA requirements. The coverage provided by many other policies available in the marketplace and, most notably, the mandatory professional liability policies of provincial law societies other than British Columbia, do not.
Coverage under the IPIC policy has always been the broadest and most cost-effective available and, while the insurance market is seeing 20 to 30% increases in premiums for 2022, we are pleased to advise that IPIC insurance program members’ claims history and our deep connections in the relevant insurance markets has resulted in no increase in rates for our base policy in 2022.
We understand the problem of law societies mandating inadequate insurance coverage for Canadian lawyers who are also patent and trademark agents, and their mandating of the same inadequate coverage for non-lawyer patent and trademark agents who are in multi-disciplinary practices with lawyers. We have expressed concern about the issue for many years. We appreciate that this regrettable intrusion into what should be exclusive, specialized professional liability insurance for, and managed by, the IP profession has caused confusion among some IPIC Members as to what they are covered for, and to what extent.
We are here to help clear up any confusion.
For more information or a quote for the IPIC Insurance plan please contact:
R.J Farnworth, The Magnes Group Inc. Direct: 905-466-4711, Office: 905-845-9793, 363 firstname.lastname@example.org