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Intellectual Property Journal. Volume 23 (2011), p. 131-145.


Canadian Patent Office; Canadian Patent Office Conduct; clerical errors; client-centric organization of patent; client-centric patent offices; customer service patent; patent office; wrong serial number


This paper discusses how clerical errors made in documents relating to patents should be dealt with. It takes as its cue a recent case that overturned the Canadian Patent Office’s refusal to correct an error – a patent agent’s supply of the wrong serial number of a patent when remitting maintenance fees – that resulted in the patent automatically lapsing. Patent offices these days claim to be “client-centric” but their behaviour often belies their puffery. The paper looks broadly at the concept of clerical error, and compares how a client-centric organization might deal with such mistakes in paperwork with the Office’s actual conduct. It concludes that the Canadian patent office has much to do if its assertion of customer service is to match reality.

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