A Canadian patent is a document which provides an exclusive right to an inventor for an invention in exchange for a complete disclosure of how the invention works. The exclusive right is limited to 20 years from the date of filing of the patent application. Patent rights confer to the inventor the transferable right to exclude others from making, using and/or selling the invention. In business terms, patents are a tool which allows innovators to capture value from the functional aspects of an invention. By granting an exclusive right to an innovator, a patent offers protection for invested time and capital and may allow the innovator to profit from their creativity. However, in order for patents to provide added value, they must be integrated with the business interests and goals of the innovator.
The rights given by a Canadian patent extend throughout Canada, but not to other countries. In order to secure your rights in other countries, patent applications for the invention must be filed separately in those other countries. It is important to consider the connections in the value chain of your business as well as the profit margin and volume of product sold embodying the invention when determining a country filing strategy.
The patent system in Canada is a “first to file” system. In a first to file system, the first person to file a patent application for an invention is the person who is entitled to the patent. We recommend that the patent application be filed prior to any public disclosure or offer for sale of a product embodying the invention. Failure to file a patent application prior to a public disclosure or offer for sale may result in a forfeiture of rights in some foreign jurisdictions.
A patentable invention meets the three requirements of “novelty”, “utility” and “ingenuity”. For an invention to be novel, it must be the first of its kind in the world. It must not have been invented by anyone else before you. Utility requires that an invention works and that it has a useful purpose. To meet the “ingenuity” requirement, the invention must be an improvement that would not have been obvious to a person skilled in the art or science to which the invention pertains at the time the application was filed. Ingenuity invokes the question: “Why didn’t I think of that?”
After determining the value of an invention to your business, the first step to obtaining a patent is to file a patent application. In determining when to file a patent application it is important to consider the stage of development of your product. Filing too early may result in failure to include important features or details in the patent application. Filing too late may result in forfeiture of rights as well as the risk of not being the first to file an application for the invention.
A Canadian patent application is opened to public inspection 18 months after the filing date of the application. Once the application is open to public inspection, the application will be examined by a Patent Examiner in order to identify any defects in the application and assess the patent application in view of prior art. During this phase, it is possible to make changes to the application in order to bring the application into compliance with Canadian patent law. Once the defects in the application are addressed and the Examiner has no further grounds for objection, the application is “allowed” and will issue to patent upon payment of the Final Fee.
Preparing a patent application, prosecuting the application before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office as well as other services associated with patent application, such as searching, are complex undertakings. The qualified Patent Agents at Craig Wilson and Company are ready and willing to provide you with the services you require to prepare, file and prosecute patent applications before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. We have extensive experience in seeing a patent application through from filing to allowance. We also have experience in patent searching and can assist you in determining an effective filing strategy for obtaining patent protection for your invention in the United States and other countries around the world using our network of foreign associates. For more information on the Patent Searching phase, please see Patent Searching