HOW TO PROTECT THAT HARD-WON GIZMO YOU INVENTED?
WT often hears from people who have invented a system or technology on their own, usually in a quest to find a solution to a water problem they are dealing with. Their questions invariably concern how to protect their cherished invention. With this in mind, we sent Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) some questions about patents, copyright and intellectual property protection in Canada. Media relations spokesperson, Hans Parmar, answers are questions below.
WT - Do you think the workshops and IP programs supported by the
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) are effective? Has it changed over the past years?
ISED - Through its Program, CIPO has developed in collaboration with a variety of partners and stakeholders, an array of offerings in the form of workshops, seminars and webinars, online learning modules, a variety of factsheets as well as roadmaps and guides to raise awareness of the IP system. Since the launch of CIPOís enhanced IP Awareness and Education Program in May 2017, the Program has held more than 400 seminars, designed more than 50 tools and resources, and reached more than 15,000 Canadian entrepreneurs.
Topics addressed include an introduction to IP rights, IP strategy, protecting your IP abroad, as well as an overview of IP tools and possible routes for protecting Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Cultural Expressions through the current IP system.
CIPO continues to gather feedback and insights from point of service surveys and adjust accordingly. In addition, a first of its kind IP awareness and use survey was launched last year with the results of the survey expected to be made available to the public in the upcoming months.
WT - Is it true that patents in Canada arenít enforceable and give away the secrets or competitive advantages throughout the application process?
ISED - Patents are enforceable in Canada. Similar to most countries they are enforced through the courts, with associated costs.
Patents provide a time-limited, legally protected, exclusive right to make, use and sell an invention. Through a patent, the government provides the right to stop others from making, using or selling the invention from the day the patent is granted to a maximum of 20 years after the day on which the patent application was filed.
When you apply for a patent, you must provide a full description of the invention so that others can benefits from this advancement in technology and knowledge. Patent applications are open to public inspection 18 months after the filing of the patent application (earlier in some special situations). People may then read about your invention, though they can't reproduce, use or sell it without your permission while your patent is in force. Again, this is not unique to Canada; patents are administered in this fashion around the world.
To know more about this topic: click here
WT - What is the cost of a copyright application and how long does it take?
ISED - As per the service standard, CIPO will send a certificate of registration of copyright within 7 business days upon receipt of a compliant application submitted online and payment of the prescribed fee of $50.
CIPO will send a certificate of registration of copyright within 1 month upon receipt of a compliant paper application and payment of the prescribed fee of $65.
WT - Is it worth it for a content creator to apply to protect their work via copyright if the copyright isnít enforceable? Are inventors with fewer financial means protected?
ISED - The issuance of a certificate of registration of a copyright is dependent on whether the application is compliant with the legislative requirements and not on the financial means of the applicant. While CIPO is responsible for the administration of intellectual property rights, the Office cannot provide legal advice on this matter. CIPO can confirm, however, that the Copyright Act states that a certificate of registration of copyright is evidence that copyright exists and that the person registered is the owner of the copyright.
However, the Copyright Office is not responsible for policing or checking on registered works and how people use them. It also cannot guarantee that the legitimacy of ownership or the originality of a work will never be questioned. For this reason, we therefore advise applicants to seek legal advice to determine whether their rights are protected. Additional information is available by way of A Guide to Copyright, which can be found on the CIPO website.
WT - Do patents protect their holders against the introduction of counterfeit to market?
ISED - Yes, a patent protects against the unauthorized manufacture, use or sale of the patented invention. An invention could be a product, a composition (chemicals), a machine, a process, or an improvement of any of these. As the rights given by a Canadian patent extend throughout Canada, but not to other countries, a Canadian patent does not protect from the manufacturing of a patented invention outside the country. That being said, it forbids its sale and its use in Canada (unless a licence agreement is obtained from the owner of the patent). Enforcement, however, is a private action that patent holders must pursue on their own.
To know more about patent protection: click here
This page compare the benefits of patents, industrial design and trade secrets (the latter is not a formal form of protection)
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