The creativity of the human mind is boundless. Every day, humans think up ways to solve problems. A simple idea today day might be an essential invention or innovation tomorrow.
For most, one of the rewards for creativity and innovation is profit. So, it is crucial to file a patent if you think an idea is groundbreaking, profitable, or both.
Why should you file a patent?
You should patent your product and prevent others from profiting off of your ideas and inventions. Once you have the patent for a specific product or idea, you can be the sole seller of that invention for a length of time, or duration of the patent, allowing you to claim more profit.
It also allows you to sell their products or ideas at higher prices, based on your market and other economic factors like the law of demand and supply.
Is it worth it to patent?
Actually, patenting an idea in an economic sense depends on sales and profit. If sales are booming, then patenting is a wise way to protect your profits.
Another reason to patent an idea is purely sentimental. For instance, someone might patent an innovative card game idea they’ve had since they were kids.
However, a patent may not be worth filing if the sales are too low. It’s of no use incurring more costs if a business is not generating (or going to generate) enough sales from an innovative idea/product. Except you see some value in patenting the idea and selling the rights to another corporation.
Can I patent everything?
Definitely not. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office says that a patent can only be awarded if the invention meets the following criteria:
- It is a product;
- It is a composition;
- It is a machine;
- It is a process; and
- It is an improvement on any of those mentioned above.
Keep in mind that even if you get a patent to improve an existing invention or idea, the original patent may still be valid. If that’s the case, manufacturing or marketing a product with its enhancement could be considered a patent violation.
This problem is frequently resolved by patentees (those who possess patents) agreeing to provide licenses to each other. If they believe this is an issue with their innovation, they should speak with a patent agent/lawyer about it.
What are the steps in patenting an idea in Canada?
There are procedures you must follow when applying for a patent in Canada. If you fail to do so, it can cost you more money and/or even prevent you from getting the desired patent.
1. File the requirements to receive a filing date
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) accepts patent applications electronically through its website. To receive a filing date, you must send the following documents, addressed to the Commissioner of Patents stationed at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office:
- A verbal or implied indication that a Canadian patent is being sought;
- Any information that allows the applicant’s identity to be verified (e.g a piece of ID);
- Any information that will allow the Commissioner to contact the applicant (such as the applicant’s address); and
- A paper document in any language describes the innovation on the surface (i.e., the description).
You will also be required to pay the required application fee, depending on the patent you’re filing.
2. Use a registered patent agent
Since every application is scrutinized by CIPO, given the complicated nature of parenting, it might be best to hire a licensed Canadian patent agent or lawyer to prepare, file, and assist with the application process.
A legal company, a lawyer, or a non-lawyer expert can all be registered, patent agents. On its website, CIPO has several other eligible patent agents.
3. Request an examination for your patent
Your will application not be instantly reviewed just because you’ve submitted it! At different stages of your patent application, you will be required to pay various fees. Your application might stall otherwise.
You must submit a formal examination request and pay the required examination fee based on the patent type. This request must be submitted within four years after the filing date in Canada.
4. Prior art and protests
After a patent application is made public, anybody can raise doubts about either the patentability of the innovation or one of its claims by submitting “prior art.” It is information that could lead a patent examiner to oppose one or more of their assertions. Patents, patent applications made public, and published material with a bearing on the case can all be considered prior art.
Anyone can register a protest against a patent being granted. The public will be able to view such protests.
5. Examiner either rejects or approves the application
The examiner will either reject an application based on the claims made against the invention or idea or approve the application once it is deemed valid based on the documents presented.
6. Respond to the examiner’s objections if the application fails
If the examiner challenges some of your patent assertions, don’t be discouraged. You may react to the objections as long as you do so within the time frame specified by the examiner in action. The Commissioner of Patents must receive the applicant’s or their patent agent’s response.
Your response could include a request for the Commissioner to revise the application by modifying or canceling existing claims or adding new ones. Each argument offered by the examiner must be refuted or overcome in detail.
7. The examiner checks the application one more time and approves it or asks for more amendments
The examiner will again check the application to see if it passes the requirements. It will either get approved after checking, or the examiner might ask for more amendments before it gets approved. Your patent could still be rejected at this point.
Cost of filing a patent in Canada
The cost of filing a patent varies depending on the patent type. National patent filing is a lot more affordable than international filing. However, the basic national fee for patent applications in Canada is from $204 to $407.18 CAD. You can find a full list of fees here.