Better know a Canadian functionary: the Commissioner of Patents

The issuing of patents in Canada began in colonial times and was originally the domain of Parliament until the passing of the Patent Act of 1869, which created a Patent Office controlled by a Commissioner of Patents as a subdivision of the Department of Agriculture, with the Deputy Minister of Agriculture acting as Commissioner until 1918. (The great patriot Thomas D’Arcy McGee was originally slated to be the first Commissioner of Patents, but died of a gunshot to the back of the head in late 1868.)

The Patent Office of Canada (renamed the Canadian Intellectual Property Office [CIPO] in 1991) moved to the jurisdiction of the Minister of Trade and Commerce in 1918, then to the Secretary of State for Canada in 1927, the Registrar-General of Canada in 1966, and the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs in 1967 before becoming part of the Department of Industry in 1994.

In 1981, the Commissioner of Patents was given the extra title of Registrar of Trademarks. The Commissioners of Patents of Canada have been:

Joseph-Charles Taché, 1869-88.
John Lowe, 1888-95.
William Bain Scarth, 1895-1902.
George Finlay O’Halloran, 1902-26.
Thomas Lucien A. Richard, 1926-34.
James Thomson Mitchell, 1934-50.
Joseph Wilfrid Thomas Michel, 1950-68.
Archibald Malloch Laidlaw, 1968-76.
J.H. André Gariépy, 1976-92.
Mart Leesti, 1992-96.
Anthony McDonough (1st time), June-Sept. 1996 (acting)
Sheila Batchelor, 1996-1999.
Anthony McDonough (2nd time), May-July 1999 (acting)
Maureen Dougan, July-Oct. 1999 (acting)
David Tobin, 1999-2007.
Mary Carman, 2007-11.
Sylvain Laporte, 2011-now.


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