The Canadian Patent Office and Canadian Patents

Mike Grossman
Professional Engineer
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Minute Read
February 20, 2014
The Canadian Patent Office and Canadian Patents

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Canadian Patent Office

Simply put, the Canadian Patent Office is responsible for grant patents and administration of patents in Canada.  Therefore a lot of people see the Patent Office and the Patent Database as a outstanding source of technical information.

The CIPO is part of a larger group, called the Canadian Intellectual Property Office that is responsible for the administration of trade-marks, copyright, industrial designs, and integrated circuit topographies.

Take note, the CPO will not legally protect your patents.  They simply provide the registration and administration of your patent. Which provides the legal means for you to protect your own Intellectual Property.

Without a granted patent, your idea is simply a trade secret.  If a trade secret is made public you cannot do stop others from utilizing the idea. However, with patent protection you can restrict the use of your idea. This is primarily handled with a license agreement.

In fact it is common for a company to infringe on a patent and wait for a cease and desist letter.  They will often go so far as to set aside an amount of money (of a typical license percentage) for each case of infringement.

Upon receiving the cease and desist letter, negotiations often start regarding a license agreement.  These negotiations often result with the patent holder receiving a royalty payment for work done in the past and future work utilizing the patent.

Here is a video from Jay Adelson (Digg) regarding very practical patent advise.

Canadian patents

A patent is a right, granted by government, to exclude others from making, using, or selling your invention in Canada for a period of 20 years.  In consideration for registration and a sense of protection, the inventor provides a full description of the invention.

Patents include process inventions, machine inventions, manufacturing inventions, composition of matter or any new and useful improvement of an existing invention.  The criteria include:

  • It must be new: It must be the first in the world and by the original inventor or an assignee inventor.
  • It must be useful: It must functional and operative, in other words it must work.
  • It must must show ingenuity: It must not be obvious.

The four components of a patent are:

  • Abstract
  • Specification – answers four main questions:
    • What does the invention solve?                
    • What does the invention solve?                
    • What prior art exists and why is it inadequate?                
    • How does the invention work?                
    • Is the invention new, useful, and ingenious?
  • Claims
  • Drawings

Eligibility of Canadian patents

Below is a general guide of what you can and cannot patent.

Canadian Patent Office

Do note that 90% of patents are improvements on existing patent inventions. However, the original patent may still be in force and using it may be infringing. Therefore one often grants a license agreement to us the original patent.

Also patents are granted to the first inventor to file not to the first inventor so file ASAP. However, keep in mind filing too early may increase risk due to re-apply.

Finally, public disclosure (adverts, displays, publishing information) may make it impossible to acquire a valid patent.

Here is a funny video of the 25 strangest patents ever filed.

General definitions: Canadian patents

Patent protection: allows the inventor to sue for damages in the case of infringement after the patent is granted. In addition, the inventor is able to sue for damages incurred between the date the application was made public (18 months after filing) and the patent grant date. The label patent pending is not required; however, misrepresenting a product or service as patent pending is illegal.

Convention priority: a claim under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property treaty that allows the filing date of one member country to be recognized by other participating countries if filed within one year.

Patent Cooperation Treaty: gives a standardized filing procedure shared by CAN, US, Japan, and most of the EU and up to 142 countries with a single application filed in CAN.  

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