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General patent information

Utility patents may protect some of your ideas, namely, those that are new, have utility, and are not obvious improvements of existing technology.

The USA usually gives priority to inventors who are the first to invent something and Canada gives priority to inventors who are first to file for protection in Canada or who have an earlier priority date.

Utility patents cover the technical (non-aesthetic) portions of inventions that have utility. At the time of invention (and there are all kinds of rules about this) there must be something new about the invention that makes using it advantageous over what has been previously invented ("prior art.")

There are all kinds of rules that define exactly what is a new and useful patentable invention.  After a patent search has been reviewed, in the field of technology concerned, a patent attorney can usually tell you whether your invention is in fact patentable.

Some inventors may spend their limited resources on filing fees for either a regular patent application or a provisional patent application. Ultimately, a patent examiner at the USPTO decides whether an invention is entitled to a patent. The procedure of applying for a patent is outlined in the USPTO's Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) and Canada's Manual of Patent Office Practice (MOPOP.)

For inventors with a large patent budget, the most sensible course of action is to have a registered patent attorney handle it all for you. For inventors on a limited budget, write what you can, and we can efile your patent application in Canada.

Canadian Patent Act, Section 29(1) states:

An applicant for a patent who does not appear to reside or carry on business at a specified address in Canada shall, on the filing date of the application, appoint as a representative a person or firm residing or carrying on business at a specified address in Canada.

We are willing to act as a representative for service in Canada foreign applicants. Our initial fee for this service is $300, plus $75 per year thereafter, for the life of the patent application/registration. The inventor(s) or their assignees must keep us updated with their email and street addresses. We will efile an inventor's Canadian patent application for $250 plus GST (7% Good & Services Tax), plus the Patent Office's filing fee of $200. A quote on amendments required for a written description in an application can be provided upon request.

USA inventors may file USA provisional patent applications as a cheap way to preserve rights they may have in inventions, for up to one year. USA provisional patent applications give inventors up to one year to decide whether their invention is worth serious money and one year may buy the inventor enough time to get an investor. However, great care must be taken in explaining and describing the invention in these provisional applications, because the inventor must base their later filed regular patent application solely on the written description of the provisional application. No new matter may be added.

However, an incomplete Canadian patent application is cheaper in the long run for Canadians, because it may be completed with claims within one year without a further filing fee.

An incomplete Canadian patent applications are better for preserving a Canadian citizen's or resident's rights (if any) to an invention, even if it is not completed with claims within one year, because the Canadian Patent Act (section 73(3)) lets you reinstate it within an additional six-month grace period upon supplying the claims and paying additional fees.

Business Method Patents
Many business method patent applications are being sought after these days; some are exciting and lucrative. However, some are rejected by the USPTO because the USPTO considers them to be obvious or not patentable .

USA Design patents and Canadian industrial designs cover the aesthetic portions of known art, such as new shell designs for athletic shoes, car bodies, etc. An excerpt from a USPTO brochure, General Information Concerning Patents, states:

The patent laws provide for the granting of design patents to any person who has invented any new and nonobvious ornamental design for an article of manufacture. The design patent protects only the appearance of an article, but not its structural or functional features. The proceedings relating to granting of design patents are the same as those relating to other patents with a few differences. See current fee schedule for the filing fee for a design application. A design patent has a term of 14 years from grant, and no fees are necessary to maintain a design patent in force. If on examination it is determined that an applicant is entitled to a design patent under the law, a notice of allowance will be sent to the applicant or applicant's attorney, or agent, calling for the payment of an issue fee.

The drawing of the design patent conforms to the same rules as other drawings, but no reference characters are allowed and the drawing should clearly depict the appearance of the design, since the drawing defines the scope of patent protection. The specification of a design application is short and ordinarily follows a set form. Only one claim is permitted, following a set form.

Canadian Industrial Design applications are very different from USPTO design patent applications. Specifically, a detailed written description of the design must be provided with the application.

DaimlerChrysler Corporation was issued the 500,000th US design patent. It was for their Crossfire Convertible's body design.

"The presentation of the 500,000th design patent is truly a historic event," said U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. "U.S. automobiles have long been known for their forward looking designs and the Chrysler Crossfire provides one excellent example of this."

Design patents are granted for new, original, or ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. They are intended to give encouragement to the decorative arts and promote commerce by giving designers an incentive to make their products more aesthetically appealing to consumers. The first design patent was issued in 1842 to George Bruce of New York City for printing types. US Design patents provide exclusive rights to their owners for a term of 14 years from the date of issuance. Over 16,500 design patents were issued in fiscal year 2004.



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