The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) recently released its 2016 IP Canada Report summarizing developments and trends in intellectual property filings in Canada, as well as intellectual property filings abroad by Canadians.

The report first discusses the filing and grant data for patents, trademarks, and industrial designs over the 10-year time period from 2006 to 2015.

The majority of patent applications in Canada are filed by non-residents, with only 12 per cent of Canadian patent applications being filed by residents in 2015. The US is the largest filer, accounting for 49 per cent of patent applications, with other top filers being Germany, Japan, France, and Switzerland. The vast majority of patent filings in Canada are now filed through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The percentage of PCT filings at CIPO has risen from 73 in 2006 to 80 in 2015, an all-time high.

The number of patent applications filed yearly has decreased slightly from 2006 to 2015, attributable mostly to a significant drop during the global recession in 2008 to 2009. The number of applications has steadily increased since then, but as of 2015 has yet to reach the number of applications filed in 2006.

The number of patents granted in 2015 has increased 48 per cent over the number granted in 2006. This appears to be due to increased productivity and efficiency at CIPO, given that the number of filed applications decreased slightly over the same time period.

Canadian residents have filed a greater proportion of trademark applications in comparison to patents. In 2015, Canadian residents filed 43 per cent of trademark applications to CIPO. Other top filing countries are the US, Germany, the UK, France, and China.

The number of trademark applications also dipped in 2008 to 2009 due to the global recession. However, the number of trademark applications has steadily increased since then such that 16 per cent more trademark applications were filed in 2015 compared to 2006.

The number of trademark registrations has grown more than twice as fast as trademark applications over the same time period, due to dedicated efforts to significantly streamline the processing of trademark applications at CIPO.

As Canada moves toward implementing the Madrid Protocol, international trademark applications are expected to increase over the next five years.

A relatively small share of industrial design applications originate from Canadian residents, with 14 per cent being filed by Canadians in 2015. The US is the top filer accounting for 56 per cent of industrial design applications to CIPO.

Industrial designs have increasingly become an important IP right in Canada, with applications increasing 21 per cent from 2006 to 2015, and registrations growing by 66 per cent over the time period. Once Canada accedes to the Hague Agreement, which provides a framework for streamlined ID applications similar to the PCT for patents, non-resident applications for industrial designs are expected to grow more quickly.

The report also discusses IP activities abroad by Canadian residents. According to data tracked by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), global IP rights applications by Canadians grew by 35 per cent over the 10-year time period from 2005 to 2014.

Canadians file more patent applications abroad than domestically, with almost five times more applications being filed abroad than in Canada by Canadians in 2014. The top foreign filing destinations for patent applications by Canadians in 2014 were the US, the European Patent Office (EPO), and China.

The number of trademark applications filed abroad by Canadians has likewise increased markedly from 2005 to 2014. The top foreign filing destinations for trademark applications by Canadians in 2014 were the US, China, and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The number of industrial design applications filed abroad by Canadians has increased by 60 per cent from 2005 to 2014, despite the relatively small volume in terms of absolute numbers. Once again, the top filing destinations for industrial design applications by Canadians in 2014 were the US, EUIPO, and China.

The report goes on to discuss recent data with respect to turnaround time for IP applications in Canada.

Patents, being the most complex form of IP, take the longest time from application to grant. The total time to patent approval consists of the time from filing to exam request, from exam request to first action, and from first action to the patent being granted. In the time period from 2012 to 2015, the first and third periods have remained roughly the same. However, CIPO has managed to reduce the time from exam request to first action by 6.9 months. The average time from application to grant is now just under 80 months.

The average time for registering a trademark is approximately one third of the time to obtain a granted patent. The average time has fluctuated between 27 and 30 months over the time period from 2012 to 2015.

Industrial designs offer the fastest time to registration. The time from application to registration has fluctuated between 8.6 and 12 months over the time period from 2012 to 2015.

Due to the close geographic and economic ties between Canada and the U.S., it is unsurprising that the US is the largest international filer for IP rights as a whole in Canada. In addition, the US is the top filing destination for IP rights by Canadians. Overall, IP applications filed internationally by Canadians have increased at a faster rate than IP applications filed in Canada. Greater efficiency at CIPO has resulted in faster processing and grant of IP rights. The data in the report shows that Canada remains both an important origin as well as filing destination for IP rights holders.

The full report can be accessed at