As Canadians begin to prepare for the first public holiday of the fall season, thoughts of turkey (or tofurkey), stuffing and loved ones gathered around the dinner table may serve to distract from the fact that the Canadian Patent Office is closed to the public on Monday, October 14, Thanksgiving Day.
Historically, the Patent Office has not granted patent application filing dates on days that it is closed to the public. Hence, if a patent application were to be submitted to the Patent Office on Monday, October 14, 2019, the filing date of the application would be deemed to be Tuesday, October 15, 2019.
Before closing this article to help yourself to another piece of pumpkin pie, note that the possibility of obtaining a filing date on a day when the Patent Office is closed to the public might be important. Most significantly, it could be relevant to the grace period for disclosures to the public by the applicant or by someone who obtains knowledge, either directly or indirectly, from the applicant. Such disclosures are not prior art if they occur no more than one year before the Canadian filing date. Currently it is possible that an invention claimed in a Canadian patent application filed on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, could be unpatentable if the applicant’s disclosure to the public occurred on Sunday, October 14, 2018, but would have been patentable had it been possible to file the application on Thanksgiving Day (i.e. Monday, October 14, 2019).
However, Thanksgiving Day 2019 will be the LAST Canadian holiday on which a Canadian patent application filing date will be unavailable.
With the approaching amendments to the Patent Act and Patent Rules coming into force on October 30, 2019, it will be possible to obtain a patent application filing date on a weekend, holiday, or any other day when the Patent Office is closed for business, by filing the application by electronic means (e.g. by facsimile or online). Such communications by electronic means are deemed to have been received according to the local time in Gatineau, Québec, where the Patent Office is located.
As a result, if needed, an applicant will be able to obtain a Canadian patent application filing date on Remembrance Day (November 11, 2019), Christmas Day (December 25, 2019), Boxing Day (December 26, 2019), or any other holiday or Saturday or Sunday, starting this November.
For a detailed overview of patent practice in Canada under the amended Patent Act and Patent Rules, please see our recent article.