How your patent application is processed (page 3 of 4)


1. Request for examination

What happens How we will tell you

The Patent Office will examine your application after you have made a formal request, paid the examination fee and provided the Patent Office will all necessary documents. The Patent Office will have told you about any missing information after an initial review of the application. You must formally request that we examine your application within five years of your filing date. If you do not make the request within the time limit, your application will be considered abandoned. Footnote *

If you requested examination when you filed a Canadian patent, we will indicate that we got your request for examination.

If you requested examination when you entered into the national phase of a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application, we will acknowledge that we got your request for examination.

A patent examiner will decide whether your application obeys the Patent Act and Patent Rules, including these important conditions: novelty, utility and ingenuity.

If you gave us your request for examination within the five-year time limit, we will send you a letter that tells you we got your request.

If everything is in order, your application will pass to the next step, which is “allowance”.

See our section on allowance.

If your application is not acceptable, the examiner will explain the reason(s). You will have a chance to make changes to the application or, in writing, argue against what the examiner has said.

If you do not reply to the examiner within the proper time, your application will be abandoned. Footnote *

If your response to the examiner does not overcome the objections, the examiner will send you a final action. You will have a chance to respond to the “final action”. If your amendments or arguments satisfy the examiner, your application will be allowed. If not, your application will be referred to the Patent Appeal Board.

If there are problems with your application, you will get an examiner's report, which will explain the objections.

When we will tell you

The Patent Office, in most cases, will examine and send a first examiner’s report (sorted by subject area):

  • Biotechnology — 20 months
  • Electrical — 27 months
  • Mechanical — 17 months
  • Organic chemistry — 18 months
  • General chemistry — 20 months


  • Fees (Part I, Item 3)

2. Patent Appeal Board

What happens How we will tell you

If you have replied to a final action but your reply does not convince the examiner to set aside his objections, we will send your application to the Patent Appeal Board for review.

Within three months, the Patent Appeal Board will send you a letter telling you that they are looking at your application. There is no fee for this service.

The Board will make a recommendation to the Commissioner of Patents who will then make a decision. The decision may be that your application is allowed, that specific amendments are required before the application can be allowed or that your application is rejected. Before your application is rejected, you will have the opportunity to be heard before the Patent Appeal Board. If the Commissioner of Patents still will not grant you a patent, you can appeal to the Federal Court within six months.

The Commissioner of Patents will issue a decision.

| Table of contents | Prior to examination |
| | Examination | |

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