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Things to know

  • A Canadian patent gives the patent holder the exclusive right to make, use and sell the patented invention
  • A patent generally expires 20 years from the filing date of the application
  • Canadian patents are granted on a “first-to-file” basis, not “first-to-invent” – this means that it is essential to prepare and file a patent application at the earliest opportunity
  • For an invention to be patentable in Canada, it must be:
    • new (i.e., not already publicly disclosed);
    • useful (i.e., functional and operative); and
    • not obvious to someone skilled in the art (i.e., inventive)

Things to do

Develop a patent strategy for Canada

  • Undertake a review of your patent portfolio and assess the costs and benefits of applying for Canadian patents on existing or newly developed inventions

Apply for a patent

  • A patent application may be filed electronically with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) on its website. The application sets out, among other things, the applicant’s name and address, the inventor(s), drawings for the invention, and specifications and claims to the invention.
  • Because the application is examined by CIPO in both form and substance and because of the complexity of patenting an invention, it is customary (and indeed recommended) to engage a registered Canadian patent agent to prepare and file the application and assist in the application process. A registered patent agent may be a law firm, a lawyer, or a non-lawyer professional. CIPO maintains a list of registered patent agents on its website.
  • If you have filed a patent application in a member country of the Paris Convention or the WTO, and you are considering exploiting the same invention in Canada, file an application for the invention in Canada within 1 year of the filing date of that earlier application (to claim the benefit of the earlier filing date for the Canadian application)
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