What is a patent?

A patent can be awarded for an “art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter” that is new, useful and non-obvious. Patents are essentially a bargain made between the state and the inventor, where in exchange for public disclosure of the invention, the inventor gets the exclusive right to exploit the invention for 20 years – as long as the annual maintenance fees are paid. It’s a process our IP and Innovation group can help you navigate with certainty.

How do you know if you’re eligible for a patent?

We begin by helping clients understand if their invention is patentable by determining if it meets the three crucial criteria:

  • Is it novel?
  • Is it useful?
  • Is it non-obvious?

Once we’ve helped assess if an invention is eligible for a patent, we get to work preparing and filing the patent application so you can protect your creation. In many instances, applying for and securing a patent is an essential step in attracting investors and obtaining funding for your innovation. On average, a patent takes four years from filing to issuance, and we work with you every step of the way.

The difference between patents and industrial designs

A patent protects useful, or functional, inventions. If you want to learn more about protecting a design or idea, visit our page on Industrial Designs.

Understanding the patent process

Each patent application typically requires the same components, which include, among other things, a summary of the key elements of the invention, a description of the drawings or figures and a detailed description of what the invention does. Our patent agents are skilled at guiding you through the process and ensuring your application is accurate, complete and easy to understand.

Avoiding common issues with the patents

Along with a detailed application, patents also have specific requirements, including one prohibiting prior public disclosure. Public disclosure of your invention before you’ve actually filed a patent application can be problematic and those issues can vary depending on what you disclose. Often, inventors have to weigh the benefits of patentability against the risks of revealing information to the public. That’s why it’s important to have expert legal advice to help you determine the best option for you.

How we work with our patent clients

Our patent agents and lawyers are knowledgeable about Canadian patent laws and those of other countries, including how specific international treaties and conventions impact Canadian inventors. We can also guide you in all other areas of IP Law.

We have the experience, insight and technical know-how to help you fulfil specific patent requirements and complete the necessary steps that will get you through examination and to securing your patent. Once your patent is issued, we’ll make sure you know how to maintain and enforce it so you can capitalize on its full potential.