How to patent your innovation in Canada

How to Patent Your Innovation In Canada

Canada, we increasingly hear, is becoming a global leader in high-tech innovation and entrepreneurship. Report after report has ranked Toronto, Montreal, Waterloo, and Vancouver among the world’s most up-and-coming tech hubs.

Vancouver placed number one in greatest rising markets and Toronto placed third in a ranking of North American tech talent this past summer.

Canada is up there with the new tech havens and is actually experiencing a brain gain in the industry. According to Forbes, tech talent has been arriving in the country in record numbers in recent years.

With that being said, and the spotlight on Canada, we think it’s necessary to understand what the patent process is like in the Canadian system. This information could be instrumental in executing your operations, marketing, and IP strategies.

Let’s take a look at Canadian patent law and then evaluate some key differences with the American patent system — especially for software.


There are six steps to obtaining a patent in Canada:

  1. Find out if your invention can be patented
  2. Do a patent search
  3. Prepare a patent application
  4. Submit your patent application to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)
  5. Request examination of your patent application
  6. Complete the examination process

Looks quite simple, doesn’t it?

But unfortunately, getting a patent is one of those things that even when things seem certain, something can go wrong — it’s quite a bit more complicated than it looks at first glance.

So, let’s look at how to patent your invention in more detail.


Before doing anything, try to find out if your invention meets the basic criteria for patentability — there are four basic criteria: patentable category, novelty, utility, and inventiveness:

  • Patentable category — your invention has to be in a category that is patent-worthy, such as hi-tech, drugs, chemicals, electronic devices, mechanical devices, and some (but not all) software
  • Novelty — to be granted a patent, the invention must be the first of its kind in the world
  • Utility — a valid patent cannot be obtained for something that does not work or that has no useful function
  • Inventiveness — to be patentable, your invention must have a “wow” factor — something that would not have been obvious to someone working in your area of specialty.

Your invention can be a new development or an improvement of existing technology, as long as it meets the above criteria. In fact, in Canada, the majority of patents are for improvements on existing patented inventions!

To be granted a patent in Canada, your invention can be:

  • A product
  • A composition
  • A machine
  • A process
  • An improvement of any of these

Some inventions can be protected in more than one way.

For example, software can potentially be protected as a process (series of steps), or a product (computer-readable medium, system, or apparatus).

In Canada, patents are granted to the first to file an application, so it is smart to file as soon as possible after you complete your invention in case someone else is on a similar track. Even if you can prove that you thought of the invention first, you can still lose the race if a competing inventor files before you do.

So, where to start?


Head over to our blog for the full article and find out what the step-by-step process is and what to expect after filing.

While you may see the patent process seems quite straightforward, it does have its intricacies and we always recommend seeking professional help.

Such counsel and advice are likely to result in broader claims, fewer rejections, and faster approvals during prosecution, and more efficient litigation, thereby saving you time, aggravation, and unnecessary expenses.

We are your go-to resource for all things Patent and IP! Learn how you can secure and grow your startup with instructive daily insights from our Learning Hub:

Still hungry for more? There is a wealth of information in our Resource Center! Explore our ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, and more:

If you have questions regarding your particular business scenario, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re more than happy to help! Schedule a call with our experts here:

Originally published at on August 9, 2019.




CEO of KISSPatent, providing strategic patent protection for tech startups

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Dvorah Graeser

Dvorah Graeser

CEO of KISSPatent, providing strategic patent protection for tech startups

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