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292 What can be Patented? You may be able to patent any invention that is a new and useful art, process machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or an improvement on any of these. Most patents are issued for inventions that are improvements on already existing patented inventions. In Canada, you generally cannot patent such things as mere ideas, architectural plans, computer programs, perse or methods of medical treatment. However, there are other kinds of intellectual property protection that you may be able to use to protect these kinds of things. Refer to other sections of Legal Line for more information on different types of intellectual property.
- What is a Patent?A patent is a Government document that gives an inventor the exclusive right to make, use, and sell the invention. A patent protects the rights of the inventor and makes it illegal for other people to make, use, or sell the same invention. You can use your patent to make a profit by selling it, licensing it, or using it as an asset to negotiate funding for your business.
A patent will not keep your invention secret. In Canada, eighteen months after you file an application for a patent, the Patent Office will publish your application. This gives other people the opportunity to learn from your invention. Generally speaking, patents are obtained on a country by country basis, although there are some mechanisms by which an applicant can apply for patents for more than one country in a single application.
- Criteria for a Patent applicationThere are three criteria you must meet to patent an invention. First, the invention must be new. Second, it must be useful. Third, it must show inventive originality. This means that the invention must not be obvious to someone who is skilled in the area.
Filing an application for a patent is a very complicated process. You should consider contacting a patent lawyer or a registered patent agent for assistance.