The Invention Process

What is a patent?

A patent is a government grant giving you the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling your invention. You could think of it as a contractual document between you and the government, which protects your rights as an inventor. In return for this protection you give the government a complete description of your invention.

The description is made public in Canada so that all Canadians can benefit from this advance in technology. Anyone can read about your patent, but you retain the right to make, sell, or use your invention. This protection lasts for 20 years from the date you file your patent application, provided you pay the appropriate maintenance fees.

A Canadian patent only protects your invention in Canada. If you would like patent protection in other countries, you have to apply for a patent in each country.


3 criteria for patenting an invention

It must be newuseful, and inventive.

By new, we mean that it must be the first of its kind in the world. This is why it is important that you not publish your invention before filing for a patent. Many countries will not grant you a patent if your invention has already been disclosed. Canada is an exception in that it allows you to file within a year of making your invention public.

To meet the criteria of usefulness, your invention must work. If it doesn’t have a useful function you can’t patent it.

Many patents are improvements to existing patents. In this case, the owner of the new patent must obtain a licensing agreement with the owner of the existing patent. The owner of the old patent would have to get a license from the owner of the new patent in order to use the improvement.



trademark is a word, or picture, or a combination of these that is used to distinguish the goods or services of one person or organization from those of another.

Copyright is for literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works, computer programs, performer’s performances, sound recordings, and communication signals.

Industrial designs are for the shape, pattern, or ornamentation applied to an object.

Integrated circuit topographies refer to the three-dimensional configurations of the elements and interconnections embodied in an integrated circuit product.