File a Canadian patent application: Complete your application


3. Complete your application

The application you write will become your patent. Make sure the description, claims and drawings in your application are clear and follow the formatting requirements.

On this page

Application checklist

Your patent application must include the following:


The petition is your formal request for a patent and includes:

  • the title of the patent
  • your name and address
  • the name and address of co-applicants (if applicable)

If you file online, you can use an auto-generated petition. Otherwise, use the Petition for Grant of Patent form to generate a printable petition to include with your application.

Manual of Patent Office Practice references

Statement of entitlement

You must provide one of the following statements:

  • the applicant or applicants are entitled to apply for a patent
  • the applicant is the sole inventor of the subject matter
  • the applicants are all inventors and the sole inventors of the subject matter

Include this statement in either:

  • your petition
  • a separate document
Inventor information

You must provide the names and addresses of all inventors.


The abstract is a short summary (150 words or fewer) that describes your invention and says how it can be used. Abstracts are mainly used for searching patent databases.

In your abstract:

  • Describe the main parts of your invention and how they work
  • Avoid referring to any claims, or other parts of your application. Since your abstract may be read on its own, the reader will not understand if you discuss other parts of your application.
  • Write your abstract so that those with a background in the field can easily understand it.

Manual of Patent Office Practice references


The claims you make in your application are the legal foundation that protects your invention. They form a boundary around your patent defining your invention. They let others know when they are trespassing on your rights.

When you write the claims section, consider the scope, characteristics and structure of your claims.


Each claim should have only 1 meaning, which can be either broad (general and high level) or narrow (more specific), but not both at the same time.

Writing many claims, where each has its own scope, means you can get legal title to several aspects of your invention.

Examples of claim scope

Read the claims in patent application A. Notice how the section begins with broad claims and then moves towards claims that are narrower in scope.

Example of a broad claim (claim 1)
Example of a narrower claim (claim 8)

In patent application B, the first claim keeps getting referred to by later claims. This means that all the features in the first claim are also included in the later claims. As more features are added, the claims become narrower in scope.


When you are writing your claims, make sure that they are:

  • clear—so that you do not cause the reader to wonder about the claim (avoid using words such as "thin," "strong," "a major part," "such as" or "when required" as these words force the reader to make a judgement based on their opinion rather than on objective observation: be specific)
  • complete—so that it covers an inventive feature and has enough elements around it to put the invention in the proper context
  • supported—by the description (your claim should be clear and easy to understand by the average person working in your field based on your description)


A claim is a single sentence (statement) made up of 3 parts:

  1. Preamble (or introductory phrase)
    The preamble names the category of the invention, and sometimes the purpose (for example, a machine for waxing paper, a composition for fertilizing soil).
  2. Purview (or body)
    The purview lists the main parts of the invention, such as parts of a device, steps of a process or method, ingredients of a composition or groups in the chemical formula of a compound.
  3. Transitional phrase
    The transitional phrase describes how the body of the claim relates to the introductory phrase. It helps assess the scope of the claim as the phrase can be restrictive or permissive in nature. It joins the previous 2 parts. It is made up of words and phrases such as:
    • "which comprises"
    • "comprising"
    • "including"
    • "consisting of"


In the following example, "A data input device" is the preamble, "comprising" is the transitional phrase, and the rest of the claim is the body.

"A data input device comprising:

  • an input surface adapted to be locally exposed to a pressure or pressure force
  • a sensor means disposed below the input surface for detecting the position of the pressure or pressure force on the input surface and for outputting an output signal representing said position
  • an evaluating means for evaluating the output signal of the sensor means

Manual of Patent Office Practice references


The description must be able to answer the questions of "what is your invention" and "how does it work." It should be clear enough that someone else could make and use the invention using only the description you provide.

Make sure your description is a complete and full description. This is important because you can't add any new information to your patent application once you have filed it.

  • Start with general background information and then move on to more detailed information about your invention and its parts.
  • Any changes that you make must be in line with what was originally there. Nothing new can be added.

Manual of Patent Office Practice references


Whenever possible, include a drawing for inventions. If you can't illustrate your invention with drawings, you may include photographs that show the invention with your application.

Your drawing must:

  • show every feature of the invention defined by the claims
  • follow the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's standards for page size and quality of paper

Do not submit models and specimens of your invention.

Manual of Patent Office Practice references

Sequence listing (if applicable)

If your description contains the sequence of a new protein or nucleic acid, your application must contain a sequence listing. The formatting of the sequence listing follows international standards.

To get help to create and check the formatting of a sequence listing, visit the Biological Sequence Listing Verification Program page.

Your application may include the following

Small entity declaration (if applicable)

A small entity declaration is a declaration that you are a small entity. You can provide it in the petition or in a separate document. A small entity declaration only needs to be provided once. The statement must refer to all applicants and it must be signed by the appointed patent agent or by another person authorized under the Patent Rules (see chapter 10.02.02 of MOPOP for clarification about who may sign a small entity declaration).

If you want to benefit from paying all fees at the reduced rate, we recommended submitting it when you file your application.

Learn more about small entity conditions (subsection 44(2) of the Patent Rules)

Small entities are:

  • organizations with 50 or fewer employees
  • universities

All fees are reduced for small entities. If you think you qualify, use the small entity declaration tool to learn how to submit a small entity declaration.

Small entity declaration tool

Common representative appointment document (if applicable)

If there is more than 1 applicant, the applicants can appoint a common representative from among the applicants. If the applicants do not appoint one, an applicant will be deemed appointed.

The common representative represents all applicants when taking certain actions, such as appointing a patent agent.

To appoint a common representative, include a statement that clearly appoints a common representative in either of the following:

  • your petition (unless your application is divisional)
  • a separate document signed by all applicants
Agent appointment document (if applicable)

You must hire a patent agent if:

  • the application is filed by someone other than the inventor
  • there is more than 1 inventor and the application is not filed jointly by all of the inventors
  • a transfer of the application had been recorded with the office

To appoint an agent, include a statement that clearly appoints an agent in either of the following:

  • your petition
  • a separate document signed by the applicant, or if there are joint applicants, the common representative.
Claim priority

If you have previously filed an application for the same invention, you can claim priority to that application.

To claim priority, provide the following information about the previously filed application in the petition or in a separate document:

  • the application number
  • the country or office of filing
  • the filing date

If the previously filed application is not a Canadian application, you must provide:

  • a copy of the previously filed application
  • a certificate showing the filing date, or access to the previously filed application in the World Intellectual Property Organization's Digital Access Service by providing the access code

Application formatting requirements

Format for text

The format for the application text is as follows:

  • Use good quality white paper that is either 21.6 cm by 27.9 cm (8.5 inches x 11 inches) or 21 cm by 29.7 cm (A4 format) (figure 1).
  • Do not crease or fold the paper.
  • Your application should not show any interlineations, cancellations or corrections.

Use the following margin dimensions (figure 2):

  • top, bottom and right: 2.0 cm
  • left: 2.5 cm

The only things you can write in the margins are the file reference number (in one of the upper corners) and the line numbering for the description and claims (left margin).

  • The capital letters of the text should be at least 0.21 cm high. A font size of 12 pt. is usually enough (figure 3).
  • The text for the description and claims should be spaced 1.5 lines apart (except for sequence listings, tables and mathematical and chemical formulas) (figure 3).
  • Use normal fonts. Avoid unconventional or eccentric font styles so that the Patent Office can reproduce it electronically.

Number the pages of the description and claims in order at the centre of the top or bottom of the page. The page number can't be inside the margins. You can number the lines of the description and of the claims in the left margin. Number each claim in order.

Page layout

In most cases, the page layout is upright (portrait orientation). If it helps to present the information, you can format the drawings, formulas and tables using a landscape orientation, with the top of the figure at the left side of the page (figure 5).

Format for drawings

The format for drawings in the application is as follows:


There can't be any folds or creases, erasures or underlining in your drawings because they must be clear enough to be electronically reproduced.

The paper size should be either:

  • 21.6 cm by 27.9 cm (8.5" x 11")
  • 21 cm by 29.7 cm (A4 format)

The dimensions for the margins must also be:

  • top and left: 2.5 cm
  • right: 1.5 cm
  • bottom: 1.0 cm

In the margins, the file reference number (in one of the upper corners) may be inserted.

Black and white
  • Do your drawings in black and white.
  • The lines should be well defined, dense and dark so that they can be accurately reproduced.
  • You must use hatching (fine, parallel lines) to show cross-sections. Be careful that the hatching does not mask any of your reference characters.

Draw all the parts of the same figure in proportion to each other (i.e., do not make any part of the figure larger or smaller to highlight anything) unless a difference in proportion is needed to make the drawing clear.

Numbers, letters and reference characters

Use reference characters like numbers or letters to help you identify the different parts of the invention shown in the drawing.

Use the same numbers, letters and reference characters for a particular feature throughout the abstract, description, claims and drawings. Any number, letter or reference character that does not appear in the description can't appear in the drawings, and vice versa.

  • Use a reference character for each drawing or figure as well as each part.
  • Make sure the numbers for the figures are placed in order.
  • Make sure the numbers and letters are at least 0.32 cm high.
  • Use reference characters only for the parts that you'll mention in your description. (Example: There should not be numbered parts in the drawings that you do not mention in the description.)
  • Do not include any text with your drawings unless the reader needs the text to understand the drawings.
Assemble the drawings

You can place several drawings on a single page. If you have a drawing that is spread over more than 1 page, you must arrange each part of the drawing so that the entire drawing can be put together without hiding any part of the drawing. You must place the drawings together at the end of the application, after the claims.

See the example in the example patent application B.

Example patent applications

To help you determine how to write your application, here are 2 examples of a completed patent application:

Example patent application A
Example patent application B