Healthy Relationships Between Clients and IP Practitioners

Between a client and his agent, things can go wrong very quickly.  Here are some common reasons.

  1. Money.  The cost of some activity is not clear to the client, or they think that once an application is filed, that issuance is just a matter of time, and not a matter of time AND money.  On the practitioner’s side, if a client does not have money, you are not going to get paid.
  2. Information.  Every client has a different level of sophistication.  Some are overwhelmed easily, and I find that with those, giving a time frame and full cost beginning to end is best.   Knowledgeable, clients are merely worried about getting a good deal.  Regardless of the type of client, the practitioner should be careful to have a written record of what was disclosed to the client in terms of risks and costs.  It is a good idea to confirm all instructions in writing.
  3. Bandwidth.  Practitioners must be aware that some clients need a lot of help with the patenting or trademarking process.   Clients need to be aware that all practitioners need to  bill their time, and cannot live off  last year’s filing.   If you want your agent /attorney to have bandwidth for you on a daily basis, you must be prepared to pay something for it.
  4. Endings.  Know when to say good-bye.  Circumstances change.  Be prepared to lose clients who think they have found greener fields somewhere else (as if that could possibly be true!).  Try to be grateful when a difficult client leaves you.  It’s hard, I know.  Clients, some practitioners may not be able to give you the intensive service you once had from them when they were starting out and filing your application because of a larger workload, or even personal matters.  Do not take it personally;  find a new practitioner and move on.

Trademark and Patent Agent Exams in Canada -Rates

I wanted to share some research on pass rates for the TM and Patent Bar exams in Canada.


It should be noted that one has to qualify to write both the Patent Agent and Trademark Agent qualifying exams, and even accredited lawyers need to go through these exams.  I used to whine 😯 about how hard they were, but we’re on the front line and it takes a lot of training to fight for the rights of noble innovators and trademark holders!

(Fair Use, don’t you agree? – apologies to the talented Bill Murray in STRIPES)

and we can feel pretty proud of our skills, and in most cases, persistence, when we pass these exams.


Table 1. Canadian Patent Agent  Qualifying Exam passed/wrote in Numbers (sourced from Patent Agent Qualifying Examination Report)

Year Wrote Paper A

(patent application)

Wrote Paper B


Wrote Paper C

(Respond to Requisition)

Wrote Paper D


Pass/Wrote overall
2012 174 186 97 142 17/231
2013 170 174 186 149 28/218
2014 156 141 62 119 40/196


Table 2. Canadian Trademark Agent Qualifying Exams Passed/Wrote*

Year Pass Rate
2013 18/67
2012 4/45

 *data kindly provided by CIPOexams as these are not published

Patent agent trainee or paralegal

Tees is looking a junior contractor who is conscientious, thorough without being maddening, patient, independent, and curious about patents and trademarks in Canada.    Hours would start slowly and you would be a contractor.  Vancouver residents preferred.  Must be  reasonably tech-savvy.  English speaking would be good too.

Send resume, details on background, credentials, motivations, interests.

How to be a patent agent (in Canada) – patent exam

The Intellectual Property Institute of Canada offers great courses in patent and trademark practice. In February, they are offering a patent agent exam preparation course.

I have taken this and it was challenging but effective. If you want to be spoon-fed, this may not be the course for you. If you want to pass the exam, then you should take a look!