A patent allows you, the inventor, to exclude others from making, using, or selling your invention in Canada. A patent is granted by the government. In Canada, the Patent Office of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office is responsible for granting patents. The Canadian Patent Act (Canada) (the “Act”) defines invention as any new and useful object, or an improvement to the object.
This article will outline the definition of a patent, the process to obtain a patent, and other important details associated with patents in Canada.
A patent grants exclusive rights in an invention. A patent is granted to the inventor by the government and allows the inventor to prohibit others from using or selling the invention for a period of twenty (20) years. Patents are also considered to be an investment and an important business asset.
Benefits of a Patent
Applying for a patent is an investment of time and money. The inventor can also make a profit by selling a patent, licensing it, or using it as an asset to negotiate funding. Besides financial rewards of a patent there are also other benefits. These include:
- providing an incentive for research and development;
- encouraging creativity; and
- providing a means for sharing information.
What Can You Patent
There are three basic criteria for patentability. The device must be:
- functional and operative; and
- show ingenuity.
The invention can be a product, a process, an improvement to an already existing product, or a composition.
Process to Obtain a Patent
Before applying for patent protection, the inventor of a product must perform a patent search. This can be done through the Canadian Patents Database on the website at www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/patents. A preliminary search is necessary to determine whether your creation has been patented already.
To obtain patent protection it is preferable to file an application as quickly as possible and before any public disclosure of the invention. The application can be submitted by mail to this address:
The Commissioner of Patents
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Place du Portage Phase I
50 Victoria Street
The application can also be submitted online at the cipo.ic.gc.ca website. The standard application fee is $400. If a patent is granted, you will be requested to pay maintenance fees in order to secure patent protection. For a detailed breakdown of patent fees please visit the website at cipo.ic.gc.ca.
Hiring a Patent Agent
Preparing a patent application is a complex process, therefore it is recommended to hire a registered patent agent. A registered patent agent will assist you with the necessary guidelines regarding the application, will correspond with the Patent Office on your behalf, and will have a broad knowledge of patent law. Hiring an agent is not mandatory, but it is recommended.
The life of a patent in Canada is 20 years from the day of application. However, if you want to have patent protection in other countries as well, you have to apply to each country where you want protection.
Seeking the Advice of a Professional
If you have decided it is time to seek the advice of a professional ensure to email us your contact information and one of our lawyers will contact you promptly.
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