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Before filing a patent application

So you’re ready to file your patent application . . .or are you?

Before filing a patent application there are a few things people wanting to file a patent should do. However, it’s never a good idea to wait too long, because with patents, the rule is first come, first serve.

Still, if you file before you are ready you may have problems during the patent application.

It’s often a good idea not to talk about your invention with people before you had a chance to file a patent application.

What should be done before filing a patent application?

Consult Canadian patent guides

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office recommends that you consult the manual A Guide to Patents. The guide takes you through what patents are to how they are to be filed. CIPO also recommends that you take the patent application tutorial and look at the patent application process pages.

These guides will help you navigate the complex process of patent applications.

Conduct a patent search

Generally it’s a good idea to do a search of existing patents or industrial designs before an application is filed.

The first search of patents should be a preliminary search. Such a search can be done online by going to the Canadian Patent Database which is found on the CIPO website. You will be able to do a basic search to see if something similar or identical to your invention has been patented already.

The website allows you so search patents that date all the way back to 1869. You can search under terms such as: the name of the inventor, owner or applicant, and the international patent classification.

The second search should be done at the CIPO Client Service Center in person.

The CIPO office is currently located in Gatineau, Quebec. The office gives information, at no charge about procedures for filing patent applications and for registering trademarks, copyright, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies. It also allows for a thorough search at their office.

A proper search doesn’t just look at existing patents but also pending patents. Pending patents are patents that that have already been applied for and may or may not be granted.

It’s important that you do not only a proper search but also a thorough search. During the application process CIPO will do a search to see whether there is a similar or identical patent to yours already existing or pending patent. If there is a patent already in existence or patent pending that is very similar to the patent for which the application has been filed, the application may not be allowed.

You may also want to do an International IP resources search.

For deeper searches, most people usually engage the services of a patent agent, a patent researcher and/or a patent lawyer. Most people in Canada who file an application for a patent use a patent agent.

Read more:

Filing Canadian patent applications

Tutorial — Your patent application