Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Faculty of Law


intellectual property, patent agency, patent agent, patent attorney


Jacobs, Laverne




This thesis explores the general question of what role can courts play in counteracting the potential capture by professional self-regulating bodies, with a specific focus on competency-based, entry-to-practice standards. This thesis will make the argument that the current competency-based, entry-to-practice standards for Canadian patent agents suffer from several issues which call into question the legitimacy of this occupational licensing intervention. Using the Canadian patent agent profession as a case study, the thesis will consider whether Canadian administrative law can provide a viable mechanism for challenging the illegitimacy of the Canadian patent agent regulatory framework. Accordingly, this thesis project asks the following question- in light of important considerations of both legitimacy and legality in Canadian patent agent governance, can Canadian courts act as an effective counterbalance to potential competency-based, entry-to-practice based capture in Canadian patent agent regulation? The answer to this question extends beyond the context of administrative law. The concept of patent agent ‘competency’ in many ways acts as a foundation for a dominant patent discourse, and challenging patent agent competency may be an important mechanism for challenging this overarching discourse.