Area of Law: Intellectual Property
Answer # 292
What inventions can be Patented?Region: Ontario Answer # 292
An invention can be:
- a product,
- a composition (such as a new chemical compound),
- a machine,
- a process, or
- an improvement on any of these.
You may be able to patent any invention that is:
- useful, and
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, or methods of medical treatment. However, there are other kinds of protection that you may be able to use to protect these kinds of intellectual property.
What is a patent?
A patent is a Government of Canada 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, 18 months after you file an application for a patent, the Patent Office at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) 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 application
There 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.
For more information about patents, refer to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
For legal assistance with your patent application, or other intellectual property matters, contact our preferred lawyers and see who’s right for you:
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