How your patent application is processed (Page 1 of 5)
Before you start
Applying for and receiving a patent in Canada can take about three years or longer, depending on how you decide to do it.
To get a patent, you have to pass through several stages:
- you do a search of the patent literature to see what is already out there
- you apply for the patent
- the Patent Office makes the patent application public
- you ask for an examination of your application to find out if your invention meets the requirements of Canada’s patent laws
- you communicate with the Patent Office to fix any objections that the examiner has to your application
- the Patent Office either grants your patent or objects to your application, in which case you can appeal the objection
In Canada, the Patent Act and Patent Rules set out the process for applying for a patent and the amount of protection that a patent can have.
If you stick to these rules and regulations from the beginning, the Patent Office will be able to process your application quickly and efficiently.
For more detailed information, please see the Patent Act, the Patent Rules and the Manual of Patent Office Practice.
First, do a search
We strongly urge you to begin your application process by doing a preliminary search of the patents that already exist. The results of this search cannot tell you for sure whether your patent application will go through, but it will give you an idea of whether your invention has already been patented. Knowing this before you start can save you the time, money and work of applying for a patent.
Where to begin the search
To do a proper search, you need to look through existing patents and pending patents (patents that have been applied for and that might be granted) that have been made public. A good place to start is the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's (CIPO’s) website. Our website lets you search the Canadian Patents Database using different criteria such as the key words in the title or abstract, the patent application number or a patent’s international classification.
You can also do a general Internet search on the word "patent" to find other search sites.
Another method of getting patent information is to visit a local library that has online access to patent databases. Some libraries maintain patent information and class definitions on microfiche.
For a deeper search you must either hire a professional patent searcher or visit CIPO's Client Service Centre in Gatineau, Quebec, where you can use our large library of Canadian and international patent documents. Our staff can give you information and help; however, they cannot do a patent search for you.
We recommend the following links for an online search:
If the results of your search show that you have a good chance of patenting your invention, your next step is to write your application. See our writing a patent application page for detailed information, or continue on to the next topic in this section.
Write your patent application
We have written a tutorial that offers a complete lesson on writing a patent application. It tells you how to write each section of the application and includes drawings, checklists and tips to get you started.
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