Today is Canada’s 149th birthday and no doubt Canadians will be celebrating in red and white at fireworks displays and other events across the nation. In honour of the world’s second largest country, and for all readers who enjoy some IP trivia, here are ten facts about patents in Canada.

  1. Most of the patent applications filed at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) are filed by US applicants. Italy rounds out the top 10 of filing countries. (Source: CIPO Annual Report 2014-2015)
  2. A patent application in Canada can be filed in either English or French, but almost 97 per cent of applications are filed in English. (Source: CIPO Annual Report 2014-2015)
  3. Methods of medical treatment are excluded subject matter in Canada. Business methods and computer implemented inventions are not prohibited; on the contrary, recent trends indicate that, when claimed appropriately, such subject matter can be patentable in Canada.
  4. Examination must be requested within five years of the filing date. After examination is requested, it can take over a year for examination to commence. However, advanced examination is possible at the request of the applicant, significantly reducing wait time to about six months. Canada also participates in many PPH agreements.
  5. CIPO is the Receiving Office and a competent International Searching Authority (ISA) / International Patent Examining Authority (IPEA) for Patent Corporation Treaty (PCT) applications filed by Canadian applicants. Subsequent examination requests of Canadian national phase entries benefit from reduced fees.
  6. Canada has a first-to-file system. Applicants enjoy a one-year grace period from the date of first public disclosure.
  7. Maintenance fees are payable annually after the second anniversary of the filing date of the application. The maintenance fee must be paid by the agent of record for patent applications.
  8. Patent litigation in Canada can be more cost effective than in the USA. Successful litigants for infringement may be entitled to an election of “damages” or “accounting of profits”. Costs are typically awarded to successful parties. Patent trials occur before a judge only.
  9. As an alternative to litigation, Canadian patents can be re-examined at a request of any person at any time. Re-examination of one or more claims can be re-examined in view of newly discovered prior art.
  10. Canadian Patent Agents enjoy statutory privilege for confidential communications which generally relate to the protection of an invention.

Happy Canada Day!