Minister Bains appoints directors to oversee new college governing patent and trademark agents

News release

Organization strengthens intellectual property professional services for Canadian businesses

August 9, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario 

Encouraging Canadian entrepreneurs to protect and leverage their valuable intellectual property (IP) for business success includes ensuring they can trust and rely on the professionals guiding them through the process. The Government of Canada knows that this confidence is key to helping Canada’s entrepreneurs drive their next big idea forward.

Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced that Jeffrey Astle, Karima Bawa, Thomas G. Conway, Ruth McHugh and Douglas B. Thompson will serve as directors on the board of Canada’s new College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents, which will govern the profession and promote the highest quality of IP support. Mr. Conway will serve as the Chair. The members embody a full range of expertise from the fields of intellectual property, corporate governance and professional regulation.

Over the coming months, the board’s priority will be to establish the College and a licensing system to govern this important profession. The College will operate as an independent regulator responsible for enforcing a code of professional conduct and implementing requirements for professional development. It will be responsible for maintaining the high standards that are expected of trusted patent and trademark advisors, making sure that only qualified professionals are authorized to provide agent services.

The College is another important initiative under Canada’s Intellectual Property Strategy, which is helping establish Canada as a leader in generating and strategically leveraging IP investments. 


“The College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents, together with the distinguished new board members, will raise the bar of IP professional services in Canada, making sure Canadians have the highest quality of IP support to grow their businesses and create good middle-class jobs. I congratulate the members on their appointment and know that they will be strong leaders in building this important institution.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Quick facts

  • Jeffrey Astle and Douglas B. Thompson were recommended by the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada.  

  • The College of Patent Agents and Trade-mark Agents Act was passed in December 2018 as part of the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2

  • Patent agents and trademark agents are currently regulated by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, with the Commissioner of Patents having limited authority to discipline patent agents. There is no equivalent authority to discipline trademark agents.

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Dani Keenan
Press Secretary
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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