What is a patent?

The Supreme Court of Canada stated in Teva Canada Ltd v Pfizer Canada Inc., 2012 SCC 60, that patent provides exclusive rights in a new and useful invention for a limited period in exchange for disclosure of the invention so that society can benefit from this knowledge. In most countries, the limited period is twenty years from the filing date of the patent application. As a result, the patent rights enable the inventors and/or the businesses that own the rights to profit from the invention, thus encouraging investment in research and development.

Your invention does not need to be groundbreaking to receive patent rights. A patent can protect newly developed technology or improvements to existing products or processes. If fact, most of the patents issued nowadays are related to inventions that are incremental to existing technology.

Why you should obtain a patent?


  • Increase profit with patents

The Patent Act grants the patent owner the right to exclude others from making, constructing, and using the patented invention and selling it to others to be used. With reduced competition, you will be able to monopolize the sales of your product or service protected by the patent as a result of your invention. As such, you may be able to charge a higher price for your product or service. When your competitors fail to respect your patent rights and copies your invention, you are entitled to seek damages from these competitors, for example, by recovering lost profits.


  • Maintain and increase the value of your business


A patent is considered an intangible asset of your business, which provides long-term value to your business. A patented technology will have higher value that a technology that is not patented. As such, having a patent will increase the value of your business. If your business is being acquired, but your technology is not patented, the technology may not be as valued as much as it should be.


  • Protect your right to practice your invention


If you practice your invention without patenting it, you may not be able to continue practicing your invention, or only to a limited extent if someone else obtains a patent that covers your invention.


  • Reduce damages if your employee leaves


In modern economy, it is normal for your employees to move to your competitors. If you patented or applied to patent the technology developed by a leaving employee with proper assignment of the rights, then you will not need to worry about the employee taking the technology to your competitor for use by your competitor freely against your interest as much. At the very least, it will be much easier to prove that your competitor is infringing your rights because of the existence of a patent or a patent application on the record.