Today is Canada’s 149th birthday and no doubt Canadians
will be celebrating in red and white at fireworks displays and
other events across the nation. In honour of the world’s
second largest country, and for all readers who enjoy some IP
trivia, here are ten facts about patents in Canada.
Most of the patent applications filed at the Canadian
Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) are filed by US applicants.
Italy rounds out the top 10 of filing countries. (Source: CIPO
Annual Report 2014-2015)
A patent application in Canada can be filed in either English
or French, but almost 97 per cent of applications are filed in
English. (Source: CIPO Annual Report 2014-2015)
Methods of medical treatment are excluded subject matter in
Canada. Business methods and computer implemented inventions are
not prohibited; on the contrary, recent trends indicate that,
when claimed appropriately, such subject matter can be patentable
Examination must be requested within five years of the filing
date. After examination is requested, it can take over a year for
examination to commence. However, advanced examination is possible
at the request of the applicant, significantly reducing wait time
to about six months. Canada also participates in many PPH
CIPO is the Receiving Office and a competent International
Searching Authority (ISA) / International Patent Examining
Authority (IPEA) for Patent Corporation Treaty (PCT) applications
filed by Canadian applicants. Subsequent examination requests of
Canadian national phase entries benefit from reduced fees.
Canada has a first-to-file system. Applicants enjoy a one-year
grace period from the date of first public disclosure.
Maintenance fees are payable annually after the second
anniversary of the filing date of the application. The maintenance
fee must be paid by the agent of record for patent
Patent litigation in Canada can be more cost effective than in
the USA. Successful litigants for infringement may be entitled to
an election of “damages” or “accounting of
profits”. Costs are typically awarded to successful parties.
Patent trials occur before a judge only.
As an alternative to litigation, Canadian patents can be
re-examined at a request of any person at any time. Re-examination
of one or more claims can be re-examined in view of newly
discovered prior art.
Canadian Patent Agents enjoy statutory privilege for
confidential communications which generally relate to the
protection of an invention.
Happy Canada Day!
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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