CIPO administers IP rights in Canada, for patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyrights, geographical indications, official marks, and integrated circuit topographies. This report focuses on the first 3 of these IP rights. Each type of IP protection is designed for different circumstances. The fees applied by CIPO change yearly. For an updated list of fees as well as the fee form to submit payment, visit https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/canadian-intellectual-property-office/en/payments-and-fees.
Patents provide a time-limited, legally protected, exclusive right to make, use, and sell an invention. In this way, patents serve as a reward for ingenuity. Patents apply to newly developed technology and to improvements on existing products or processes.
Patent protection applies in the country or region that issues the patent. In Canada,
a patent lasts for 20 years from the date it is filed. Patents can have a great deal of value. They can be sold, licensed, or used as assets to attract funding from investors.
In exchange for these benefits, a full description of the invention must be provided when the patent is filed. This helps enrich technical knowledge worldwide. Details of patent applications filed in Canada are disclosed to the public after an 18-month confidentiality period.
To be eligible for patent protection, an invention must be new (first in the world), useful (functional and operative), and inventive (showing ingenuity and not obvious to someone of average skill who works in the field of the invention). The invention can be a product (e.g. door lock), a composition (e.g. chemical composition used in lubricants for door locks), a machine (e.g. device for making door locks), a process (e.g. method for making door locks), or an improvement on any of these.
In Canada, the first applicant to file a patent application is entitled to obtain the patent. The patent should be filed as soon as possible after an invention is completed in case someone else is on a similar track.
Any public disclosure of an invention before filing may make it impossible to obtain a patent. There is an exception in Canada and the United States when the public disclosure was made by the inventor or by someone who learned of the invention from the inventor less than 1 year before filing the patent application. Be aware that, in some countries, disclosing the invention to the public anywhere in the world before filing a patent application may in many circumstances prevent the inventor from obtaining a patent.Footnote xxvi
For applications using the Patent Cooperation Treaty, consult www.wipo.int/pct/en/.
Trademarks can be 1 or many words, designs, tastes, textures, moving images, modes of packaging, holograms, sounds, scents, 3-dimensional shapes, colours, or a combination of these used to distinguish the goods or services of one person or organization from those of others. Over time, trademarks stand for not only the actual goods or service a person or company makes but also the reputation of the producer. Trademarks are very valuable IP.Footnote xxvii For example, suppose you started a courier business that you chose to call Giddy-up. You could register these words as a trademark for the service that you offer (if you met all the legal requirements).
A certification mark, which is a type of trademark, 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.
For applications using the Madrid Protocol, consult https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/canadian-intellectual-property-office/en/trademarks/guide/international-trademarks-under-madrid-protocol.
Industrial design is about how something looks. It protects the visual features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament, or any combination of these features that are applied to a finished article. In other words, it protects the appearance of an article. For example, industrial designs can be found in many everyday products, such as the unique contour of a car hood, the graphical user interface on a phone, or the specific shape or pattern of your favourite shoes. If you want to register an industrial design, it must be novel. Registering your industrial design will provide you with an exclusive right to your design for up to 15 years.
You can file for registration through CIPO or through the Hague system. If you choose to file an application through CIPO, you can protect your design only in Canada. If you choose to file an application through the Hague system, you can protect your design in multiple countries at the same time, including in Canada. For more information on the how to apply for registration, consult the Industrial Designs Guide.Footnote xxviii