Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does a Canadian patent protect my intellectual property rights in other countries?
    • No, intellectual property is under national jurisdiction.  You will need IP protection in each national market you serve or will serve in the future.
  • When should I file an intellectual property application (patent, trade-mark, etc.)?
    • In Canada, applications are accepted on a first come, first serve basis.  File your application as soon as possible, or someone with a similar idea may beat you to it.
  • Do I need a patent/trade-mark, etc.?
    • Intellectual property rights give you solid, legal protection against anyone trying to use your idea.  Without protection, if you sell, show, even talk about your invention anyone is able to exploit it.  If someone else stumbles on your idea and files an application, then you will not be able to call the idea yours, nor will you be able to obtain possessive rights over the idea.
  • How long do patents last?
    • In Canada, patent protection last for 20 years from the original filing of application.
  • How long do trade-mark registrations last?
    • In Canada, a registration last 15 years and is renewable every 15 years with a payment.
  • How long does the patent application take to be processed?
    • Regularly in Canada, the patent application process takes about 2 years for full patent protection to be finalized.  However, keep in mind that once you file your initial patent application you are immediately protected from anyone else trying to use, develop or exploit your idea.  The US is on a similar timing schedule as on average each application takes 24.6 months to finalize and approve.

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