Patent Filing in Canada: Essential Information and Procedures

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If you are looking to file a patent in Canada, you must take note of the long waiting period for patent applications. The patent filing process in Canada is notoriously time-consuming compared to other countries like the USA, India, the UK, etc. On average, it takes nearly 80 months from the date of filing for a patent to be granted. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is the governing agency for patents and trademarks in Canada. Below we give you a step-by-step breakdown of the patent filing process in Canada. 

Table of Contents

The Patent Application Process 

The entire procedure can be divided into three phases: 

  1. The Pre-Application Phase 
  2. The Application Phase 
  3. The Post-Application Phase 

Let us understand each in detail. 

Phase 1: Pre-Application 

There are certain conditions that must be fulfilled before you begin your patent application journey in Canada. These are:  

  1. Ensuring that the invention is new, useful, and innovative. In addition, the invention must be a product, a composition, a machine, a process, or an enhancement on any of these to be granted a patent.  
  2. Conduct a thorough prior art search to make sure that the invention has not already been patented. You can either search the Canadian patents database, USPTO database, Google Patents, XLSCOUT, etc. to carry out the research yourself or hire a firm specialized in providing IP analytics services 
  3. Hire a licensed patent agent who can handle the complex patenting process. While it is not compulsory to hire an agent if the inventor himself is filing the application, it is recommended to seek professional help. 
  4. Decide the time frame for requesting the examination. The patent examination process does not begin automatically and has to be requested. The request must be made within 4 years of filing the application.  

Phase 2: Application Process  

Once all the above conditions have been successfully fulfilled, you can begin the formal filing process which will take you through the following steps: 

  1. Submit a duly filled patent application. Be sure to fill in all the details to get a filing date. If your application is missing any information, the CIPO sends you a notification with a two-month deadline to respond.  
  2. Pay all the associated fees to avoid being charged a penalty. The fees can be paid online, in person, by mail, or by fax. 
  3. A My Canada Business Account is required to file the patent application and pay fees online.   

Phase 3: Post-Application  

Once the application has been filed and approved, the CIPO will send you a filing certificate within 15 days of the application, that contains your filing date and patent application number. This means that your patent application is now pending.  

Following that, the following actions must be taken:   

  1. In case the application has been submitted in a language other than French or English, the CIPO will send you a notification asking for a translation in either. The timeline for submission for the same is 2 months.  
  2. Payment of fees plus a late fee in case it has not been paid at the time of submission of the application. If the applicant does not submit the fee at this stage, the application is considered withdrawn.   
  3. Payment of annual maintenance fee once the application is pending and if it is granted.  

During this phase, the examination of the application is carried out by the appointed examiner as soon as the applicant submits the Request for Examination (RFE). Based on this examination, the examiner may issue an objection report called Office Action in case of any discrepancies in the application. Once the prosecution is completed, the Office may decide whether or not to grant the patent. If the patent is granted, it is available for download in PDF format and sealed with a digital signature.  

Once a patent has been granted by the CIPO, the patent owner is required to pay annuities to the Patent Office. The annuities are paid after the second year of the patent grant till the validity of the patent which is 20 years from the date of filing.   

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