Glossary of Intellectual Property Terms


Abandonment (trademark)
An application for trademark registration is considered abandoned if the applicant does not finish all the steps in the application process.
Abandonment (industrial design)
An application for an industrial design is considered abandoned if the applicant does not reply within the proper time to any notice or report from the Industrial Design Office.
A brief summary of an invention.
Abuse of Patent Rights
Owners can abuse their patent rights by failing to make their invention available in Canada on a commercial scale without a good reason.
Advanced Examination
A request to the Patent Office for early consideration of a patent application.
The Publication of a trademark application in the Trade-marks Journal. Details are published so that others have an opportunity to oppose (challenge) the application.
Allowance (trademarks)
Acknowledgement by the Office of the Registrar of Trademarks that an application is eligible for registration. The applicant receives a "Notice of Allowance".
Application (industrial design)
The formal request for an industrial design registration. The application has three basic elements: the application form, at least one drawing or photograph of the design and the fees.
Artistic work
A visual representation such as a painting, drawing, map, photograph, sculpture or plan.
Assignment (please see also Transfer)
The transfer of rights from the owner to another party.
The creator of an artistic, literary, musical or dramatic work.


Berne Convention
The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which concluded at Berne, Switzerland, on September 9, 1886. See the list of contracting parties.


Canadian filing date
The date an application, including all filing date requirements, is officially received.
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)
A special operating agency of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada that administers Canada’s system of intellectual property rights: patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies.
Canadian Patent Database
Allows to do a preliminary search via the CIPO website, of patent bibliographical information and see images for patents that have been issued and applications that have been made public in Canada since October 1989.
Canadian Patent Office Record (CPOR)
A journal published by the Patent Office.
Certificate of registration (copyright)
An official document confirming that a copyright has been registered. This document is evidence that a copyright exists and that the person registered is the owner of the copyright.
Certificate of registration (industrial design)
The official document stating that a design has been registered in accordance with the Industrial Design Act.
Certificate of registration (trademark)
An official document stating that a trademark has been recorded in the Register of Trademarks.
Certification mark
A mark identifying goods or services that meet a defined standard–e.g., the Woolmark design used on clothing.
The part of a patent that defines the boundaries of patent protection.
Clearly descriptive mark
A word that describes an inherent feature of a product or service and therefore cannot be registered as a trademark or part of a trademark.
Collective society
An organization formed to administer copyright on behalf of its members.
Compulsory licence
The right granted by the Commissioner of Patents to one or more parties to produce a patented invention. Compulsory licences are granted, under certain circumstances, to guard against abuse of patent rights.
Convention priority (patent)
An arrangement that allows inventors interested in applying for a foreign patent to have their filing date in one country recognized by other countries that have signed an international agreement called the Paris Convention.
Convention priority (industrial design)
Convention priority applies in countries (including Canada) that have signed an international treaty called the Paris Convention. Having convention priority means the applicant has six months from the filing date in one country to file an application in another country. The second application is considered as if it had been filed on the earlier date.
In general, copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work or a substantial part of it in any form. It includes the right to perform the work or any substantial part of it or, in the case of a lecture, to deliver it. If the work is unpublished, copyright includes the right to publish the work or any substantial part of it.
Copyright Act
The federal legislation governing copyright in Canada.
Copyright Board of Canada
This regulatory body establishes royalties for the use of works protected by copyright when the copyright is being administered by a collective-administration society. The Copyright Board of Canada may also supervise agreements or licences between users and licensing bodies and issue licenses where a copyright owner cannot be located.
Copyright Office
The federal government office responsible for registering copyrights, and assignments and licences affecting a copyright.
Corporate name
The name registered by a legal organization for carrying on business. In some cases, a corporate name can also be a trademark.
Crown copyright
Copyright for the works prepared for or published by the government.


Deceptively misdescriptive mark
A word that may not be registered as a trademark or part of a trademark because it is misleading.
A formal statement that the applicant is the proprietor (owner) of an industrial design and that, as far as he or she knows, no one else was using the design when he or she created it.
Description (industrial design)
A description is a basic requirement of an application for an industrial design. It identifies the visual features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament that comprise the design, and indicates whether the design resides in the entire article or a portion of it.
Description (or specification) (patent)
Part of the patent application. It includes a detailed description of the invention, claims specifying the aspects of the invention for which protection is sought, and the extent of the protection being sought.
Sometimes an applicant has to disclaim the right to the exclusive use of one or more unregistrable parts of a trademark.
A statement that says the applicant does not have exclusive rights to a given word or to a portion of a trademark.
Distinguishing guise
The shaping of goods or their containers, or a way of wrapping or packaging goods that results in a distinctive appearance and thus distinguishes them from the goods of others.
Dramatic work
Includes plays, screenplays, scripts and motion picture films.
Drawings (patent)
A part of the patent application referring to technical drawings that illustrate the invention.
Drawings (industrial design)
The drawings and photographs that disclose the industrial design and are a basic requirement of a design application.


The process that the Canadian Intellectual Property Office uses to determine whether an application can move to the next phase.
The removal of a trademark from the Register of Trademarks.


Fee (tariff)
A specific sum payable to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for a given service.
Filing a patent application
Presenting a formal application for a patent to the Patent Office.
Filing date (patent)
The date a patent application is received by the Patent Office.
Filing date (trademark)
The date on which a completed application is filed with the Office of the Registrar of Trademarks. (This is different from the date on which a trademark is registered in the Register of Trademarks).
First to file
A patent principle in which the first inventor to file a patent application for a specific invention is entitled to the patent. In Canada and in most other countries, the first person to file has priority over other people claiming rights for the same invention.


Goods (please see also Products)
Any articles that would normally be the subject of trade, i.e., sold, leased or otherwise distributed in the marketplace.
Goods and Services Manual
A guide used for specifying goods and services in trademark applications pursuant to paragraph 30(a) of the Trade-marks Act.


The act of establishing a corporation under the law by filing the required documents.
Industrial designs
Industrial designs are the visual features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament, or any combination of these features, applied to a finished article. For example, the shape of a table or the shape and decoration of a spoon may be industrial designs. An industrial design must have features that appeal to the eye. To be eligible for registration, a design must be original.
Industrial Design Act
The federal legislation that governs the registration and ownership of industrial designs in Canada.
Violation of someone’s rights through the unauthorized use of a work.
Integrated circuit topographies
Integrated circuit topographies refer to the three-dimensional configurations of electronic circuits embodied in integrated circuit products or layout designs.
Intellectual property
A form of creative effort that can be protected through a trademark, patent, copyright, industrial design or integrated circuit topography.


This is a legal agreement giving someone permission to use a work for certain purposes or under certain conditions. A licence does not create a new owner for the work.
An individual or organization licensed by the owner of a trademark to use this trademark according to specific terms and conditions.
Licensing an invention
Allowing a business or individual to manufacture and sell an invention, usually in exchange for royalties.
Literary work
Work consisting of text, such as books, pamphlets or computer programs.


Maintenance fee
The fee owners have to pay to maintain their rights to their intellectual property.
Marking (copyright)
Indicating copyright with the symbol ©, the name of the copyright owner and the year of first publication.
Marking (industrial design)
Showing that an industrial design is registered by placing a capital "D" in a circle on the object or its package along with the name or abbreviation of the design's proprietor.
Musical work
Work consisting of music plus lyrics or music only.


Office of the Registrar of Trademarks
The federal agency responsible for administering the trademarks process in Canada.
The process followed when someone objects to the granting of a trademark registration (anyone filing an opposition must pay a fee).
Ordinary commercial terms
The generic description customarily used in the trade to refer to specific goods or services.


Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
An international treaty on intellectual property signed by 173 states, including Canada.
A patent is a government grant that gives the owner the right to keep others from making, using or selling an invention. A Canadian patent applies within Canada for 20 years from the date of filing of a patent application.
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
An international treaty that provides standard filing procedures for foreign patents in the countries that have signed the treaty.
Patent examiner
An official with technical expertise who classifies a patents or an application, or determines whether a patent application fulfills the requirements to be granted a patent.
Patent infringement
Making, using or selling an invention on which a patent is in force without the patentee’s permission.
Patent Office
Canada's patent granting authority and disseminator of patent information. The Patent Office is a part of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO).
Patent Office action
An official written communication by the Patent Office on the merits of an application.
Plant breeders' denomination
A right granted to the owner that gives them control over the multiplication and sale of reproductive material for a particular plant variety.
Patent pending
A label sometimes attached to new products that tells others that the inventor has applied for a patent and that legal protection from infringement (including retroactive rights) may be coming.
Patent search
A review of existing patents. Patent searches can help determine whether an applicant can claim rights to an invention, or whether a patent has already been issued to someone else on the same or a similar invention. Patent searches are also used as a form of research to gain information on existing technology.
Place of origin
A word or depiction that shows the origin of a product or service.
Preliminary search
The search of records that a person should carry out before they file an application for IP protection.
Posthumous work
A work that has not been published, performed in public or communicated to the public by telecommunication during the author's lifetime.
Pre-publication search
A second search of Office of the Registrar of Trademarks records to make sure that no trademark exists that could be confused with the one for which an application for registration is being made, before this application is advertised in the Trade-marks Journal.
Prima facie evidence (direct evidence)
Evidence legally sufficient to establish a fact or to raise a presumption of fact, unless rebutted.
Prior art
The body of existing patents or patent applications or any other publication throughout the world that is relevant to an application or a patent.
Claiming priority allows an applicant to claim an earlier date than the actual date of filing of the application in Canada.
Products (please see also Goods)
Any articles that could normally be traded, i.e., sold, leased or otherwise distributed in the marketplace.
Prohibited marks
Specific marks that cannot be used and that may not be registered under the law.
The proprietor of intellectual property is the owner of the IP rights. This can be the person who created it, who paid to have it created or who bought the rights from the owner.
Proposed use
The use which an owner intends to make of a certain trademark and how that use will occur.
All the steps involved in following through on a patent application.
Protected geographical indication
A geographical indication that is on the list kept under the supervision of the Registrar of Trademarks pursuant to subsection 11.12(1) of the Trade-marks Act. A geographical indication is an indication that identifies a wine or spirit, or an agricultural product or food of a category set out in the schedule, as originating in the territory of a WTO Member, or a region or locality of that territory, if a quality, reputation or other characteristic of the wine or spirit or the agricultural product or food is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.
Provisional application
A provisional application is an early bird application that establishes an early filing date but contains only a description and a drawing but no claims, declaration or disclosure. It is not examined and must be followed up by a full application within a set time frame or it will be discarded. A provisional application establishes the applicant’s intention to pursue a full patent application. This type of application is not available in Canada.
Publication (copyright)
Generally, making copies of a work available to the public.
Publication (industrial design)
The publication of a design is the act of making it public or available for commercial sale or use anywhere in the world.


The granting of an exclusive right to a work. It is also the inclusion of a form of intellectual property (copyright, patent, trademark, industrial design, etc.) in the official register for that office, in accordance with applicable acts.
Registered patent agent
A specialist entitled to prepare and prosecute patent applications.
Registered trademark
A trademark entered in the federal government's Register of Trademarks. Registration formally recognizes the owner's right to the mark.
Register of Trademarks (please see also Trademarks Register)
The official listing of registered trademarks for Canada.
Representative for service
A person in Canada whom the applicant appoints to receive documents on his or her behalf if the applicant has no place of business in Canada.
Rome Convention
The Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations adopted on October 26, 1961, in Rome, Italy. Consult the list of contracting parties.
A sum paid to copyright owners for the sale or use of their works or other subject-matter.


Search (industrial design)
The act of searching through pending, registered and published industrial designs to find out whether a design is original or has been published for more than one year.
Any activity or intangible that benefits others and would normally be the subject of trade, i.e., performed or offered in the marketplace.
Small entity
Small entities are defined as businesses employing 50 or fewer employees and universities. However, they do not include entities that are controlled directly or indirectly by another entity, other than a university, that employs more than 50 employees.
Sound recording
A recording consisting of sounds, whether or not a performance of a work, but the definition does not include any soundtrack of a cinematographic work where it accompanies the cinematographic work.
Summary expungement (section 45 proceedings)
The process followed when the Registrar issues a notice to a registered owner of a trademark asking him or her to provide evidence showing use of the trademark in Canada in the preceding three years (anyone requesting the issuance of such notice must pay a fee).


An electronic patent system that holds the scanned image of more than 1.5 million patent documents dating back to 1869 and the text version of the documents from 1978.
Trademarks may be a word or a combination of words, sounds or designs used to distinguish the goods or services of one person or organization from those of others. Trademarks come to represent not only the actual goods or services but also the reputation of the producer. As such, a trademark is valuable intellectual property.
  • There are three types of trademarks:
    • An ordinary mark is made up of words, sounds, designs or a combination of these used to distinguish the goods or services of one person or organization from those of others. For example, suppose someone started a courier business that he/she chose to call Giddy-up. That person could register these words as a trademark (if he/she met all the legal requirements) for the service that he/she offers.
    • A certification mark can be licensed to many people or companies for the purpose of showing that certain goods or services meet a defined standard. For example, the Woolmark design, owned by Woolmark Americas Ltd., is used on clothing and other goods.
    • A distinguishing guise is about the shape of goods or their containers, or a way of wrapping or packaging goods that shows they have been made by a specific individual or firm. For example, if someone manufactured butterfly-shaped candy, that person could register the butterfly shape as a distinguishing guise.
Trademark agent
A trademark agent is a person whose name is entered on the list of officially recognized trademark agents and who is therefore entitled to practice before the Office of the Registrar of Trademarks.
Trade-marks Act
The federal legislation governing trademark registration in Canada.
Trademarks Examination Manual
A guide explaining the legal guidelines for examining trademarks applications. The manual explains the interpretation of the Trade-marks Act and the Trade-marks Regulations made by the courts; this guide is used primarily by trademark examiners for purposes of the examination process.
Trade-marks Journal
A weekly publication of the Office of the Registrar of Trademarks containing all approved applications and all Office rulings.
Trademarks records
The index of registered trademarks and pending applications maintained electronically by the Office of the Registrar of Trademarks.
Trademarks Register (please see also Register of Trademarks)
The official listing of registered trademarks for Canada.
Trade-marks Regulations
Federal regulations made pursuant to section 65 of the Trade-marks Act for carrying into effect the purposes and provisions of the Act.
Trade name
The name under which a business or individual chooses to operate. Trade names may also be considered trademarks under certain conditions.
Trade secret
Information about a product or process kept secret from competitors.
Transfer (please see also Assignment)
An act by which the rights in respect to intellectual property are conveyed from one person or organization to another.


Universal Copyright Convention
An international convention protecting copyright, adopted on September 6, 1952, in Geneva, Switzerland. Consult the list of contracting parties.


Word mark
A trademark consisting of words in standard character, without regard to colour or font type.
World Trade Organization (WTO)
A body concerned with the global rules of trade between nations. Consult the list of members.