An Introduction to Intellectual Property (IP)

From: Canadian Intellectual Property Office

An Introduction to Intellectual Property (IP)
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Before you begin …

You are about to take a journey into the world of IP. The following presentation will introduce you to the strategic value of IP and how it applies to your research, your inventions or innovation, and your artistic creations.

You will learn about the five main types of intellectual property rights (IPRs) administered by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). CIPO plays a key role in supporting Canada's innovation and productivity by delivering and granting quality and timely IP rights.

Canadian IP at a Glance


  • Walkie Talkie, Insulin Process


  • BlackBerry, Beavertails


  • Recordings by The Tragically Hip, Anne of Green Gables (book content)

Industrial Designs

  • Bombardier Snowmobile, Hockey Goalie Mask

Integrated Circuit Topography

  • Canadarm (Mechanical arm)


New inventions or any new and useful improvement of an existing invention

What Can You Patent?

Using a door lock as an example:

Car door lock

Car door lock
Patent number : CA 2590356
Filed by Zygmunt Dziwak in 2007

  • A Product: a door lock
  • A Composition: a chemical composition used in lubricants for door locks
  • An Apparatus: a machine for making door locks
  • A Process: a method for making door locks

… or an improvement on any of these

Did You Know That:

90% of patents are for improvements to existing patented inventions

Find three improvements

Find three improvements for these two mouse traps
  1. Cheese (the plastic smells like cheese)
  2. The spring is longer
  3. Hook at the end of the arm

Famous Canadian patents: Snowmobile

"Some day, I will invent a little machine that will glide over the snow and will even allow me to go up hills."
J. Armand Bombardier

J.Armand Bombardier
© Musée J. Armand Bombardier

The SKI-DOO ® snowmobile has made tracks since J.Armand Bombardier registered his first patent in 1937. Bombardier Recreational Products now has manufacturing facilities in six countries on three continents and the company's products are sold in more than 80 countries worldwide!


Patent application no. 367104
Registered June 29, 1937


Ontarian Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone — the genesis of Bell Canada, originally founded in 1880 as the Bell Telephone Company of Canada Ltd

Patent number
Year issued
Improvements in electrics telephony
Improvements in electrics telephony
Improvements in electrics telephony
Reproducing sounds from phonograph records
Reproducing sounds from phonograph records

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell


A word (or words), a design, or a combination of these used to distinguish the goods and services of one person or organization from those of others in the marketplace

Look around you

… how many trademarks do you see everyday?

BlackBerry logo
Bell logo
Petro-canada logo

You might notice that some trademarks are followed by the symbols ® or ™.

Canada's Trade-marks Act does not contain any marking requirements. However, you may have come across the following symbols used by trademark owners, namely, ® (registered), TM (trademark), MD (marque déposée) or MC (marque de commerce). The ® or MD are generally used to identify a registered mark. The symbols TM or MC are generally used to identify an unregistered mark.

Trademarks can be used to uniquely identify goods and services

Petro-canada logo

Petro-Canada holds the Team sponsorship rights for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games. You will see this logo on our Canadian athletes.

A brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer.

A trademark is a distinctive indicator which uniquely identifies a particular company, individual, or product/service.

Top Canadian Brands

Canadian brands (in billions of dollars)
TD Bank 10.8
Royal Bank of Canada 10.5
Thomson Reuters 8.3
Scotiabank 7.7
Tim Hortons 3.9
Bell Canada 3.3
Shoppers Drug Mart/ Pharmaprix  3.2
Rogers 3.2
lululemon athletica 2.9
Telus 2.9

Source: Interbrand Canada 2014

Trademark protection

In today's competitive global marketplace, branding often becomes the most important aspect of a business or an organization.

Registering a trademark has important advantages in Canada:

Industrial Designs

The visual features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament (or any combination of these features) applied to a finished article made by hand, tool or machine

Features that Appeal to the Eye


Rights derived from any original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work can be registered from the moment this work is created

The World of Copyright

Copyright is automatic upon creation. However, it's a good idea to:

Copyright-Protected Canadian Works

  • © Script
  • © Cover
  • © Movie scenes
  • © Movie editing
  • © Actor interpretation
  • © Pictures
Canadian Geographic
  • © Cover
  • © Pictures
  • © Articles
Gregory Charles
  • © Pictures
  • © Lyrics
  • © Music
  • © Cover

Integrated Circuit Topographies

3-D configuration of electronic circuits embodied in integrated-circuit products or layout designs

Integrated Circuit Topographies (ICTs)

Used in many technologies, such as:

  • Computers
  • Automobiles
  • Pacemakers
  • Industrial robots
  • Cameras
  • Spacecraft

Canada's most famous robotic and technological achievement made its space debut on November 13, 1981.

The Canadarm

The Canadarm is being used to install the shuttle docking port on MIR. Photo: NASA

The IP behind the BlackBerry


Patent drawing for the BlackBerry handheld computing device

Patent CA 2508239

A display for a handheld computing device includes a display panel; a circuit board carrying display electronics for the display panel; a cover assembly securing the display panel to the circuit board; and a resilient layer adhered to the circuit board for securing the display to the computing device.



The registered BlackBerry Trademark

Trademark Registration TMA 659946

Goods/Services: Electronic handheld units.

Registrant : BlackBerry Limited

Industrial Design

Industrial Design of the BlackBerry handheld electronic device

Industrial Design Registration 125919

Title: Handheld Electronic Device.


The Canadian IP system at a glance



Up to 20 years after filing


Apply nationally

Protects against

Use, sale, manufacture

What is protected




Renewable 15-year period


Apply nationally

Protects against


What is protected

Identity of your products and services: words and designs



Generally life plus 50 years


Automatic, apply internationally (but registration can be sought in Canada)

Protects against

Copying, reproducing

What is protected

Original literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works, and other subject matters: sound recordings, performances, communication signals

Industrial designs


Up to 10 years


Apply nationally

Protects against

Manufacture, sale, rent or importation

What is protected

Visual appearance of a product: ornamentation, shape, pattern, configuration

Integrated circuit topographies


10 years


Apply nationally

Protects against

Use, sale, manufacture

What is protected

Original integrated circuit layout designs

Benefits of doing IP searches

Visit to access CIPO IP databases.

Contact us

Toll-free: 1-866-997-2476
Fax: 819-953-OPIC (6742)

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