Law Class
intellectual property
Stand out Article
What does it really mean?
-> Intellectual property (IP) refers to the creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic
works, as well as symbols, names, pictures, designs and models used in business. Patents, trade-marks,
copyrights, industrial designs, integrated circuit topographies and plant breeders’ rights are referred to
as “IP rights.”
-> IP rights are “property” in the sense that they are based on the legal right to exclude others from
using the property.
-> Ownership of the rights can also be transferred.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office
-> The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), a special operating agency of Industry Canada, is
mainly responsible for the administration of the IP system in Canada.
-> CIPO encourages invention, innovation and creativity in Canada; fosters the use of the IP system and
the exploitation of IP information; and promotes Canada’s international IP interests.
-> CIPO’s Client Service Centre (CSC) is one of the central points of entry for all general enquiries.
It provides:
• detailed information on filing requirements;
• consultation with an information officer;
• access to IP databases and searching guidance;
• access to search tools (classification manuals, index manuals, domestic and foreign documents,
reference documents); and
• certified copies and photocopy service.
• information on various aspects of IP;
Developing strategies for protecting and exploiting IP
-> The real value of intellectual property (IP) resides in your capacity to use it as an integral part of your
business.
Take stock of what you have
-> In an innovative, dynamic business, the value of IP can be much greater than the value of its physical
assets.
Explore trade secrets and confidentiality agreements
-> A trade secret should be backed up by signed confidentiality agreements to preserve secrecy and
proprietary knowledge.
-> Relying on trade secrets is useful when the IP is unlikely to result in granted patent rights or you wish
to retain exclusive use beyond the term of a patent. A trade secret strategy is appropriate when it
becomes difficult to copy the construction, manufacturing process or formulation from the product
itself.
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-> Secrecy:
-does not stop anyone from inventing the same thing
-does not give you exclusive rights
-vulnerable when employees that are sworn to secrecy leave your company
-trademarks are difficult to maintain over a long period of time
-harder to enforce, and more costly than granted rights because it relies on the complexity of
proving a breach of confidence under common law or civil right
Licensing opportunities
-> Acquiring a license is a cost-effective alternative to investing in development which has already been
done
Successful exploitation strategies and effective searches
->The information contained in IP databases can provide your business with important insights that may
be used to:
a) Prepare feasibility studies
b) Find possible partners and markets
c) Avoid possible infringement and identify potential competitors
d) Anticipate changes in your line of business
e) Obtain permission to use copyrighted work
Types of Rights
Formally protect your IP assets
-> Patents, trade-marks, industrial designs, integrated circuit topographies and plant breeders’ rights are
all legally protected under the Canadian IP system.
-> You can own, sell, license or bequeath IP in much the same way you would acquire a building or a
piece of land.
-> Once acquired (IP rights), there is good reason to believe that you do own the rights to this property;
legally, this is called prima facie evidence of exclusive ownership across Canada. It changes the burden
of proof. You do not have to prove you own the IP your opponent has to prove you do not own it.
-> IP rights can also enhance the value or worth of your business in the eyes of investors and financing
institutions
-> The five types of IP protection administered by CIPO vary in the protection they provide and in the
length of time for which protection is covered. A tariff of fees also applies to each type of protection
Patents
->Patents are government grants that give inventors exclusive rights to their inventions.
-> Patent protection applies in the country that issues the patent.
-> In Canada, this protection extends for 20 years from the date of filing.
-> Patents are granted for products or processes that are new, workable and ingenious (novel, useful
and inventive). In this way, patents serve as a reward for ingenuity.
-> Patents can be sold, licensed or used as an asset to negotiate funding
-> to be eligible for patent protection, the invention must be new (first in the world). Second, it must be
useful (functional and operative). Finally, it must show inventive ingenuity and not be obvious to
someone skilled in that area.
-> The invention can be a product, a composition, an apparatus, a process or an improvement on any of
these.
-> In Canada, patents are given to the first applicant.
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Trademarks
-> the investment you have made in these brands and corporate identities can be protected under the
Trade-marks Act.
-> A trade-mark is used to distinguish the products or services of one person or organization from those
of others in the marketplace
Types of trademarks
-> Ordinary trade-marks are words or designs or a combination of these that distinguish your products
and services.
-> Your company name can be registered as a trade-mark only if you are using the name of your
company to distinguish your products and services from those of others.
Why is it important to register your trade-mark?
->Owning a registered trade-mark gives you the exclusive rights to its use throughout Canada for 15
years and is renewable after that. By registering your trade-mark you can more easily protect it through
legal proceedings.
Copy Rights
-> Any original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is subject to copyright from the moment it is
created
->Copyright law protects the expression of the idea; it does not protect the ideas embodied in the work.
->There are two rights in a creation: a right in the physical property of the creation itself, and a right in
the intangible property.
->Copyright protection is automatic
->the owner of the copyright is the creator of the work. However, if you create a work in the course of
employment, the copyright belongs to your employer unless there is an agreement to the contrary. But
you are still the author of your creation.
-> Copyright in Canada exists for the life of the author plus 50 years following death. After that, the work
becomes part of the public domain and anyone can use it.
Industrial Designs
-> An industrial design comprises those features of a product that appeal to the eye. Specifically, it is the
features of shape, configuration, pattern, ornament or any combination of these features of a particular
product.
-> It is important to note that a design must be registered in order to have protection against
infringement. By registering your industrial design, you get exclusive rights for up to 10 years
-> To be eligible for registration, a design must be original
->You must apply to register your design as early as possible; since once you have made the design
public, there is a one-year limit to file the application
Integrated circuit topographies
-> Integrated circuit topographies are three dimensional circuit designs used in technology ranging from
electronics in cars and household appliances to robots and spacecraft.
-> Still a relatively young field, new approaches and standards are being developed
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