How your patent application is processed (Page 2 of 5)



Filing your application


When you file for a patent, you give a patent application to the Patent Office. The filing date of the application is a key date in the application process (see about priority dates).

The filing date is important because the first person to file a patent for an invention gets to own that patent.

Why you need to worry about public disclosure

You should not go public in any way with your invention before you file for a patent. Disclosing, or sharing information about your invention with the public may jeopardize your attempts to later patent the invention as it will not be considered novel or new.

Canada lets you go public with your invention as long as you file a patent application within 12 months of doing so. But most other countries have much stricter rules; they require that you file for a patent before you make it public. So, if you publish your invention or tell other people about it, there is a chance that you will not be able to get a foreign patent.

Obtain an early filing date

You may choose to get an early filing date. To do so, you must give the Patent Office the following:

  1. An indication that the granting of a Canadian patent is being sought'
  2. A document that describes your invention
  3. Information allowing the identity of the applicant to be established (i.e. your name) and
  4. Information allowing the Commissioner to contact the applicant (i.e. your postal or email address)

Please note that these four requirements do not make up a complete patent application.

Make sure your application is complete before you file

When you are eager to protect your invention with a patent, you may be tempted to file an application quickly with a short, preliminary description of the invention. The problem with filing an incomplete description of the invention is that you cannot add new subject matter to the description afterwards.

You have to balance the need to file quickly with being certain that you have finished developing and can fully describe your invention. Once you have received a filing date, you may not change the description of your invention or add subject matter that is not closely connected to your original drawings or the description part of your application.

If your application does not meet the minimum requirements for getting a filing date, we will send you a notice indicating which requirements were not met.  You will have two months from the date of that notice to meet the filing date requirements, otherwise, your application will be deemed never to have been filed.

If the application fee is not provided on the filing date, you will be required to submit a late fee with the application fee.  The Commissioner will send a notice saying you have three months to provide the application fee and the late fee.  If it is not provided, the application will be considered withdrawn.

An application must also contain a petition, claims, an abstract, a statement of entitlement. If you do not provide these parts of the application on the filing date, the Commissioner of Patents will send you a notice saying you have three months to provide these parts of the application. If the Commissioner does not hear from you, your application will be deemed abandoned.
If you are required to appoint an agent and the appointment was not submitted on the filing date, the Office will send you a notice requiring the appointment of an agent within 3 months of the date of the notice. If the Commissioner does not hear from you, your application will be deemed abandoned.

If you submitted the description of the invention in a language other than English or French, you will be required to submit a translation of the description. You will receive a notice requiring the translation within 2 months of the date of the notice. If the Commissioner does not hear from you, your application will be deemed abandoned.

Getting your filing number and certificate

When you file your application, provided you have sent the right documents, the Patent Office gives your application a number and will send you a filing certificate. The Patent Office classifies your application within the proper technical field. Eighteen months after the filing date (or the priority date), your application is laid open to the public and the Patent Office puts a copy on its databases. You must be careful about maintaining your application while it is pending by paying annual maintenance fees and responding to any notices or requisitions sent from the Office.


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