Before filing a Patent application

Region: Ontario Answer # 296

Before you begin filing a patent application you must do the following things:

  • learn about what can be patented
  • do your research
  • determine if you need to hire a patent agent
  • decide if you’ll request examination at filing
  • know that your application will be public

Conduct a preliminary search

Before you spend time and money filing an application for a patent, you may want to hire a registered patent agent or a patent search firm to conduct a preliminary search to determine if your invention, or one like it, has already been patented, or to see what other patents already exist.

Although no search is exhaustive, a preliminary search will help you decide if your invention is truly new and different enough from what others have patented. If your invention is not new and obvious to others, you will not be able to receive a patent for it and you should not file an application.

When a preliminary search is not needed

In most cases, it is best to conduct a preliminary search.  However, there are instances when you may not need to conduct a search. For example, if you are concerned someone else will file an application for the same invention before you, then you may decide not to wait to conduct a search. You should discuss your situation with a lawyer or a registered patent agent. They can help you decide whether you should conduct a search and whether other inventions are too similar to yours to warrant a patent application.

How to conduct a search

Conducting a search is a very complicated and technical process. It is a good idea to hire a registered patent agent or a search firm to do a search for you. A lawyer or a search firm has the expertise needed to compare your invention to other inventions and determine whether your invention is likely to be new and different enough from what others have done to warrant protection.

Where to conduct your patent search 

Use the CIPO’s Canadian Patent Database. You can search, retrieve and study more than 2,540,000 patent documents. You can also access a wider variety of patent-specific documents on the Canadian Patents Database page. For the latest updates of the database, see the Currency of information page.

Click here to find a patent agent from the Canadian College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents. For the most up-to-date information about the patent process, refer to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.




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