Intellectual Property in Canada

If you come up with an invention, idea or other forms of intellectual property while in Canada, it is in your best interest to legally claim the idea. This way, no one can profit from it without your involvement or consent.  If they do, you have the right to take them to court. By supporting people who claim their intellectual property, Canada aims to help boost the economy, and support the innovation and creativity of its inhabitants.

Intellectual property in Canada is defined as the legal rights of the owner’s of designs, creative works and ideas. These ideas can be officially registered under trademarks, patents, copyright, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies.  Registration allows an owner to legally support the ownership of intellectual property in Canadian Courts. In Canada, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is responsible for administration, processing, and recording (in the majority of instances) the legal intellectual property of a person. You should know that there are fees associated with applications and for the different types of registration of intellectual property in Canada, which are specific to the various categories.

Photo: MrN9000 via Wikimiedia Commons



  • A Patent is used to claim intellectual property on an invention, and prevent the use or sale of that invention by anyone other than inventor.
  • New inventions, useful and/or new improvements to an invention (composition of matter, process, machine, manufacture) are all covered by a patent.
  • The patent is valid for 20 years within Canada from the date upon which the application is filed.


  • There are three types of trademarks:
  1.         An Ordinary Mark
  2.         A Certification Mark
  3.         A Distinguishing Guise
  • A registered trademark means that the trademark has been entered into the Register of Trademarks, which keeps track of those for which someone has applied for and registered within Canada.
  • Your trademark request can be disputed during the waiting period, which allows specifically for opposition.


  • Copyright can be used to protect performances; sound recordings; communication signals; and musical, artistic, dramatic and literary works. This means the author and/or performer has the sole right to use their work unless legal request for use has been approved.
  • You don’t have to register for a copyright to be valid, however it is recommended, as with it,  legal proof of ownership can be provided if  needed.
  • Registering a copyright means that people who would like to use the work or reproduce it can find it in the Register of Copyrights.
  • Copyright is valid for the lifetime of the author, and the proceeding 50 years after the author’s death (beginning on the 31st of December of the year of death), until the 31st of December of the 50th year after death.

Industrial Designs

  • Industrials designs can be used to protect the application of pattern, ornament, visual shape, configuration, and any combination of these, to a finished object.
  • It does not protect construction method, function of an object, ideas and construction materials
  • If you have had your design published it is mandatory to apply to register an industrial design within 12 months of the date of publication. If it has not been published there is no time limit for registration.
  • Your design is registered to you for five years. After that, you may extend the industrial design for another five years (maximum of 10 years) with a maintenance fee. This must be paid before the first 5 year registration has ended.
  • Along with your application and fee, you must include drawings and/or photographs that explain the industrial designs finished object.

Integrated Circuit Topographies

  • This protects 3D configurations of electronic circuits in integrated circuit products or design layouts.
  • This form of protection lasts until the end of the calendar year of the 10th year after filing.
  • The owner of the integrated circuit topography has the sole right to reproduce, manufacture, and /or import the design.

To find the correct forms, you can view this list of Intellectual Property Forms, and for more information on Intellectual Property in Canada, click here.


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About Dobromir

Relocating to Canada was a difficult decision that turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. It’s important for me to find a work-life balance that satisfies my professional ambitions, my family life and my personal interests. Here in the cities of Canada, we work hard, but a trip to the ski slope with the kids, or a night of excellent dining and a theater production is never out of reach. At, we can help all your moving formalities (like planning your finances and finding the perfect home) run smoother, so you can begin to enjoy your new city even faster. // Se relocaliser au Canada a été une décision difficile mais qui s’est avérée être exactement ce que je recherchais. C’est important pour moi de trouver un équilibre entre travail/ vie personnelle qui puisse satisfaire mes ambitions professionnelles, ma vie familiale et mes intérêts personnels. Ici, dans les villes du Canada, nous travaillons dur mais un petit tour sur les pistes de ski avec les enfants ou une soirée avec un bon repas puis une pièce de théâtre ne sont jamais hors de portée. A, nous pouvons vous aider à faire toutes vos formalités de déménagement ( comme la planification de vos finances et trouver la maison idéale ) tout en douceur afin que vous puissiez commencer à profiter de votre nouvelle ville encore plus rapidement.