Protecting Your Idea

If I invent something, how can I be sure it will be mine?
What kinds of protection are there?
Who enforces my rights?

Invention/Concept/Symbol Protection

Patent a government grant that gives owner right to take legal action against others who without consent make, use, or sell the invention covered by the patent during the time the patent is in force. Patent granted for 20 years from date of application and is not renewable; afterwards product is in pubic domain
Trademark A word, symbol, picture, design, or combination of these which distinguishes the product, goods services from others in the marketplace.A brand name or identifier ( example: McDonald's and also golden arches)
Copyright A copyright gives the owner the right to preclude others from reproducing or copying the owner's original work; includes books, leaflets, periodicals, lectures, sermons, musical composition, dramatic works,art, photographs, technical drawings, sound recordings, motion pictures, computer programs. Copyright exists for the duration of owner's life + 50 years following death


Applying for a Patent

1. Find Patent Agent -not necessary but recommended-see List of Registered Agents from Commissioner of Patents, Canadian Intellectual Property Office (
2. Conduct Preliminary Search search patents for items similar-check Patent Office in Hull or Library or Canadian Patent Database (
3. Prepare a Patent Application -an abstract (summary), specification (complete description and purpose and claim what it is and boundaries of patent protection sought) and drawings
4. File Your Application submit with petition asking Commissioner of Patents to grant patent, within one year of public disclosure; yearly maintenance cost (fees range from zero in first years to $200 in year 15-19 of patent life)
5. Request Examination must formally request examination of patent and submit fee (within 7 years of filing); filing and not requesting examination is cheap way of maintaining some protection; requesting examination does not guarantee patent will be granted ( can that 2-3 years)
6. If necessary file amendment letters if rejected, can file amendment letters



1. Search previous/pending registrations
2. An application to register trademark filing an application


For more Information on Intellectual Property

Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Industry Canada
50 Victoria Street
Place du Portage, Phase I
Hull Quebec K1A 0C9 (819) 997-1936



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copyright 2001 Karen E.Hamilton