If it’s worth inventing, it’s worth protecting

How to file for a patent in Canada

Filing for a patent can seem intimidating at first, but it can be worth the time and investment.

A patent allows you to benefit from the time and money you have invested in its research and development by providing you with a period of time during which you can prevent others from doing what is claimed.

A patent also gives you, as owner, the right to prevent others from making, using, and selling the subject matter claimed in the patent.

Here are the 7 steps in filing for a patent in Canada:

1. Find out if you are eligible for a patent

To apply for a patent, a patent application needs to be filed with the patent office. The patent application is then examined by patent examiners.

Gravelle says there are three main criteria for a patent to be granted:

  • The invention must be new. There can’t be anything like it elsewhere in the world. Extensive research is often required to determine this.
  • The invention must be useful. To meet the criteria of utility, there needs to be economic value. Someone should be willing to pay money for this new product.
  • An invention should not be obvious. Does knowledge in the field already allow a person to readily solve the problem that this invention aims to correct?
2. Complete a patent search

“In order to determine whether the invention is new and non-obvious, the examiners at the patent office will do a search of previous patent applications and granted patents around the world to see if someone else might have filed an application that is either the same or close to it,” Gravelle says. While a search is not required before filing an application, it is recommended to perform one.

3. Determine if you need to hire a patent agent

Most people with a promising discovery will hire a patent agent, to help them navigate what can be a difficult and complex process. While some will go it alone and forego the patent agent, there are times when you are actually obliged to hire one.

You must hire a patent agent if:

  • the application has been filed by someone other than the inventor
  • there is more than one inventor, and the application has not been filed jointly by all of the inventors
  • a transfer of the application has been recorded with the office
4. Gather your information

To file your patent, you will need to provide the following information:

  • the field of your invention
  • a broad description of your invention, including a description of the main advantages of your invention over existing products and details of appropriate use and practical applications
  • any test results you may have already completed
  • a list of relevant patents or technical articles
  • a list of people who know about your invention
  • your personal information
5. Create your patent application

With your information in hand, you’ll be ready to complete your patent application on the CIPO website.

You’ll be asked to pay a patent application fee when you file your application. A list of application fees can be found on the CIPO website.

If your application meets the filing requirements, CIPO will send you a filing certificate that includes your filing date and patent application number.

According to CIPO, you should receive a filing certificate within 15 business days of their receiving your application. Getting your filing certificate means your application is pending; it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be granted a patent.

The patent filing certificate marks the date from which certain protections are extended to the invention.

6. Request examination

According to CIPO, you can request an examination when you file your application. Otherwise, for most applications, you have up to four years from your filing date to make a request for an examination. If you never make the request, the application will be deemed abandoned.

7. Receive your patent

Your invention is now officially patented. Prior to your receiving the patent, it would have been considered patent pending. With that patent being granted, you are now able to sell the patent or license it. It also means your consent is needed for anyone to produce or sell the invention.


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