How to Become a Patent Agent

How to Become a Canadian Patent Agent

The following steps to become a patent agent are not the official rules. If you are interested in becoming a patent agent, you must consult the information provided by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), especially regarding the strict deadlines for the exams

Step One: Verify that you meet the prerequisites

There are no formal education requirements to become a patent agent. The education must be obtained by working as a trainee (i.e. a form of apprenticeship). However, obtaining a position as a patent agent trainee is almost impossible without an engineering or a science degree.

If you are a resident of Canada and have worked for at least 24 months in the area of Canadian patent law and practice, including preparing and prosecuting patent applications, you will be eligible to take the Patent Agent Qualifying Examination.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) administers the Examination and maintains the Register of Patent Agents in accordance with the Patent Rules.

For the Examination Guidelines and other relevant information click here.

For questions regarding the examination please write to: cipoagentexams@ic.gc.ca.

Step Two: Prepare for the Examination

To complement the on-the-job training, IPIC offers optional introductory and advanced training courses in patent law and practice, including Patent Agent Exam Tutorials.

Please click here for information on our training courses or e-mail us at education@ipic.ca.

Consult past patent agent exams on CIPO's website by clicking here.

Step Three: Register for the Examination

N.B. There is a strict deadline to register for the examination. Obtain that date from CIPO.

When you are eligible to take the exam, you must:

  • Write to the Commissioner of Patents and indicate which paper(s) you wish to write. (You must have completed the 12 months of work by March 31 of the year in which you choose to write the exam.)
  • File an affidavit or statutory declaration regarding work experience in patent law and practice.
  • Pay the examination fee(s) to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). 
IPIC publishes candidate guides to writing the patent agent exam. Please click here.

Step Four: Write the Examination

The examination is held in person in many cities over a four-day period in April.

There are four papers that must be successfully passed:

Paper A - Drafting

Paper B - Validity

Paper C - Office Practice

Paper D - Infringement

You may register to write one, two, three or all four papers at a time. There is a strict deadline to register for the examination. Each paper is four-hours long and is written by hand. In order to pass the examination, you must receive a minimum score of 50 out of 100 on each paper, with a minimum aggregate of 240. You may carry forward scores greater than 60 out of 100 to subsequent years until all papers have been passed.

Step Five: Register as a Patent Agent

When you have passed all four papers, you may write to the Commissioner of Patents and request to be added to the Register of Patent Agents and pay a fee in order to be authorized to practice in Canada. You will need to pay an annual fee in order to remain on the list.