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Patent an Invention - « back to Articles

A patent is a time limited right granted by the Government of Canada to an inventor that excludes anyone else from manufacturing, using, or selling the invention in Canada without the express permission of the patentee. The patent protection is limited to a 17 year period; after expiry anyone can use the invention.


In Canada patents are issued by the Canadian Patent Office, a department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs Canada. Legislation provides protection under the Patent Act allows you to take legal recourse against any individual or company that uses or profits on your patent.

Not all products or ideas are patentable.

Patents can not be issued for:
  • literary work
  • editorial written work
  • artistic work in many media forms
  • original computer software programs
  • trademarks or industrial designs
These may be eligible for some protection under the Canadian Copyright Act.

An invention must reflect technological development or improvement that provides a significant functional advantage that was not obvious beforehand in the technology being considered, to be eligible for patent protection.

Patent Agents

To receive patent protection your submission must meet all of the requirements of both the Patent Act and Patent Rules. Consulting a Registered Patent Agent will improve your chances considerably.

Working in confidentiality in your behalf the patent agent will ensure that all requirements are met and that your invention is properly described in your application.

The patent application must be filed for by the originator of the invention or an assignee of the inventor. The patent application must be filed within two years of the first Canadian use or sale and within two years of open publication anywhere in the world.

The Patent Act only provides protection within Canada and so filing patent applications in other countries is a wise consideration. Your patent agent can assist you to protect your invention outside of Canada.

The patent process may take as long as several years from the original filing date. The patent agent will conduct an interview to learn about the invention. The patent agent will then undertake a search of all existing patents registered in Canada to determine whether any similar inventions are registered and protected.

The patent agent will then prepare detailed descriptions and drawings of the invention, help complete all the paperwork and file the application with the Commissioner of Patents.

The patenting process can cost from several hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars depending on its complexity, therefore you may wish to consider the market demand for the invention.

Patent protection is more than holding an official piece of paper. The responsibility will be yours to ensure that there is no patent infringement. If infringement occurs you are entitled to damages but is you who must institute legal proceedings.

There may be some assistance from the Canadian Government after you begin legal proceeding but it would be wise not to count on it unless you have received official documentation stating that support is available to you.

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