Submitting priority documents for industrial design applications in Canada has just become more efficient! On April 1, 2019, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) continued the modernization of Canada’s industrial design regime by joining the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Digital Access Service (DAS) for industrial design applications. The use of the DAS eliminates the cost of obtaining certified copies of priority documents for submission in participating jurisdictions.

Now that the CIPO has joined the DAS, an applicant with a priority claim in a participating jurisdiction, such as the US, China and the Republic of Korea, may submit a priority document simply by providing the CIPO with the number and filing date of the priority application, as well as the access code required to retrieve the priority document from the DAS. Conversely, applicants who first file in Canada will be able to request that their Canadian application be made available on the DAS.

While applicants are not required to submit priority documents to support a priority claim for Canadian industrial design applications unless specifically requisitioned by an Examiner, promptly submitting a certified copy of the priority document may provide the benefit of accelerating examination by up to six months. The extent to which examination is accelerated will depend on the back log of applications on file at the Industrial Design Office. If the priority document is not in English or French, a translation into either English or French will also be required to realize the benefit of filing the priority document. The translation may be submitted by letter.

Although the new service is currently available only for industrial design applications, the CIPO has indicated that it intends to expand the service to patent applications when Canada accedes to the Patent Law Treaty.