Intellectual Property (IP) is legal rights that result from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary, and artistic fields. The four major components of intellectual property include; patent, copyright, industrial design, and trademark. A patent is a government grant giving the right to eliminate others from making, using or selling an invention. A Canadian patent is protection within Canada for 20 years from the date of filing of the patent application.
The patent application is open for public inspection 18 months after filing. Patents can be received for products, processes, machines, manufactures, or compositions of matter that are new and useful. The patent owner could use the patent to stop someone who invents the claimed invention giving the patent owner a powerful right. A patent is a way its owner can ensure exclusivity in the marketplace, therefor giving the owner a competitive advantage. Patents are a successful marketing tool for selling new products or services.
The requirements to register a patent include conducting a search to ensure the idea is not already registered and then filing an application (the formal request) which needs to include a description of the idea. It can take one to three years for a patent to get approved. Patents are national so they are only protected in the country they are registered in. A copy right is the right to copy which means that an owner is the only person who may copy the work or permit someone else to do so. Usually, copyright in Canada lasts for the life of the owner and 50 years following the owner’s death.
The types of works covered in a copyright include: books, maps, lyrics, musical scores, sculptures, paintings, photographs, films, tapes, computer programs and databases. The owner of a copyright has a number of rights including sole right to control first publication, production, reproduction and performance of a work or its translation. Copyright owners may also collect royalties through performing rights’ societies, collectives, publishing houses, or directly through contracts. You automatically obtain copyright in Canada when you create an original work, but Canadian copyright is recognized in many other countries under various treaties.
Although the registration of your copyright is not required it can be useful evidence of ownership. Canadian copyrights are protected in countries that belong to the Berne Copyright Convention, the Universal Copyright Convention, the Rome Convention, and the World Trade Organization (WTO). To register for a copyright all you have to do is file together an application with the proper documentation and one time registration fee. An industrial design embraces the visual features of shape, configuration, pattern, or ornament (or any combination of these) applied to a manufactured article.
An example of industrial design would be the decoration on the face of a plate. Registering an industrial design will give you exclusive rights for ten year but there is a maintenance fee required before the expiry of five years plus sex months from the registration date to maintain the registration for another five years. It is automatically protected by a copyright if the desgn is an artistic work but if it used as a model or pattern to produce 50 or more manufactured articles, it can only be protected by an industrial design registration.
This is why it is best to apply for registration before marketing the product with the design. Industrial designs are an effective marketing tool for selling new products and can appeal to a specific group or market. Having industrial design rights on this design can give you a much needed competitive advantage. To register an industrial design an application needs to be completed and sent in with at least one drawing or picture of the design.
Industrial design is only recognized in the country it is registered in, but to obtain protection in other countries by filling out separate applications for each country. A trademark is a word, and/or design used to distinguish the products or services of one person or organization from those of others in the marketplace. Trademarks do not have to be registered; just using it can give you certain rights. Registration, nonetheless, enables you to successfully stop others from using your trade mark and also gives you exclusive rights throughout Canada.
Registering your trademark will give you protection within Canada for renewable 15-year period. Trademarks are considered valuable intellectual property that gives an owner an important competitive advantage because not only does a trademark represent actual products and services but it also represents the reputation of a producer. A trademark is also just national, if someone who has a trademark is selling in different countries they are suggested to apply for a foreign registration to offer protection in those countries as well.
Things that need to be included in the application are the application form filled out properly, the application fee and a drawing of the trademark if the application is made for a word in a special form or design. The steps of trademark registration are a preliminary search, application, and examination of application by the trademark office, publishing of the application in the trademark journal, time for challenges to the application and allowance and registration.