Filing the Application

Filing the Application

It is important that an invention be maintained confidential at least until a patent application has been filed. Disclosure of an invention in a public manner before filing can be a bar to obtaining patent protection. Canadian law allows for a one-year "grace period" for disclosures made by the inventor or someone who has obtained knowledge of the invention from the inventor. However, patent law in most other countries does not allow for such ”grace period”. Accordingly, foreign patent rights may be lost if a public disclosure takes place prior to filing.

Canada as most countries around the world (including more recently the United States) operates on a patent system known as a "first-to-file.". This means that, where more than one person has independently made the same invention, a patent is granted to the first person to file the patent application. In rapidly developing fields of technology, such as information technology and biotechnology, early filing can be critical with respect to disclosures of similar inventions by third parties, for example, in technical journals. The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application procedure allows for an international filing in order to secure patent protection worldwide.

Under Canadian law, all patent applications are published 18 months after filing. The grant of a patent occurs only after examination and prosecution of the patent application by the Patent Office, which may take several years. In Canada, annual maintenance fees must be paid commencing two years after the filing date until the expiry of any patent that issues.