CIPO consultation on obtaining a filing date on weekends & holidays

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has announced a consultation on regulatory changes that would result in applicants obtaining a filing date on weekends and holidays. Comments on the proposed changes are due September 14, 2009.

Currently, when CIPO’s head office is closed (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays) correspondence, whether submitted electronically or delivered to a local CIPO office, is not considered received by CIPO until the next day CIPO’s head office is open.

In some instances (e.g. Quebec’s annual June 24 holiday), CIPO’s head office in Quebec may be closed even through its local offices in Toronto and other cities are open. The current rule means that for e.g., if correspondence is filed with a local CIPO office on June 24 or a trade-mark application is filed online on June 24, CIPO does not consider the correspondence received or application filed until the next business day CIPO’s head office is open. Since Canada is a first-to-file jurisdiction for trade-mark prosecution, the delay could potentially cause an application to obtain a later filing date.

Highlights of the proposed policy include:

  • Electronic correspondence (e.g. on-line trade-mark applications): Currently, CIPO assigns a filing date for electronic transmissions completed before midnight  from Monday to Friday, excluding holidays. Under the proposed policy, CIPO will assign a filing date for transmissions completed before midnight on any day of the week, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
  • Correspondence filed with local CIPO offices: Currently, correspondence received during the business hours of the local CIPO office is considered received at CIPO the same day if  CIPO’s head office is open for business. If CIPO’s head office is closed, the correspondence is deemed received by CIPO on the next day CIPO’s head office is open. Under the new policy, correspondence delivered during the business hours of the regional office will be considered received at CIPO, regardless of whether CIPO’s head office is open for business.
  • Canada Post’s registered mail service: Correspondence, such as affidavit evidence in trade-mark oppositions, can be delivered to CIPO by Canada Post’s registered mail service. Presently, correspondence sent to CIPO by registered mail is considered received at CIPO on the date stamped on the envelope by Canada Post if that is a day that CIPO’s head office is open for business. If CIPO’s head office is closed, the registered mail correspondence is deemed received by CIPO on the next day CIPO’s head office is open. Under the new policy, the date stamped on the envelope by Canada Post will be the date the correspondence is deemed by CIPO, including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

The complete text of the proposed changes can be found here. Comments can be sent to CIPO’s Client Service Centre by September 14, 2009 by email at cipo.contact@ic.gc.ca, by fax at 819-994-1989, or by regular mail to:

Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Regulatory Affairs
50 Victoria Street, Phase II, 4th Fl.
Gatineau, QC
K1A 0C9

Attention: Christina-Maria Syme

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