Frequently Asked Questions

What is Intellectual Property? Which laws protect Intellectual Property?
What is a Copyright?
What is protected by a Copyright?
How does one obtain a Copyright?
What are the advantages of Registering a Copyright?
Can I sell my Copyright?
What are Royalties?
What is a Trademark?
How does one obtain a Trademark?
What is a Patent?
What can one Patent?
How does one obtain a Patent?
What is a Design Patent?
What is Integrated Circuit Topography?
What does the Plant Breeders' Rights Act cover?
How do I ensure that my intellectual property rights are respected?

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual property is any original work suitable for legal protection.

Which laws protect Intellectual Property?

Copyright Laws, Patent Laws, Industrial Designs or Design Patent Laws, Trademark Laws, Integrated Circuit Topography Act & Regulations and the Plant Breeders' Rights Act will protect your intellectual property if it answers the criteria and definitions of the law concerned. Copyrights and Trademarks also benefit from restricted protection apart from these laws.

What is a Copyright?

A Copyright is the right one has to reproduce one's work or give others authorization to reproduce it. The creator of the work is the only person who has the right to publish, execute or register it. The Copyright is valid throughout the life of its creator and up to 50 years after.

What is protected by a Copyright?

All literary and musical works, plays and artistic creations which are original. They could be musical compositions, lyrics, drama, films, poems, books, paintings, sculptures, computer programs, charts, photographs etc.

What is not protected by copyright?

Themes, ideas, most titles, names, catch-phrases and other short-word combinations of no real substance.

Who owns a Copyright?

The copyright is generally attached automatically to all works created by you unless it is the result of your employment in which case your employer is the holder or the customer if it is a photograph, a portrait, print, proof, imprint or engraving ordered or requested by him/her. No registration is necessary.

What are the advantages of registering a Copyright?

Registration constitutes proof that you are the copyright holder from the date of registration. Registration is a simple process which consists of filling out a requisition form and paying the applicable fee to Copyright Office.

Can I sell my Copyright?

You can sell your copyright in totality or in part and for any duration. The sale contract must be in written form and the sale must be registered at the Copyright Office.

What are Royalties?

Royalties are sums of money paid to copyright holders in exchange for the use of the copyright by a third person. The composers and authors of published works are members of organizations which concede licenses and collect royalties in their name.

What is a Trademark?

A Trademark consists of a word, symbol or a drawing or a combination of these elements which serve to distinguish the products or services offered by one company on the market from others. In Canada a registered trademark gives exclusive right to this mark for 15 years and is renewable for every further 15 year period as long as the mark is always in use, whereas in the U.S. this period is 10 years. It enables you to more easily protect your rights should someone challenge them since the onus is on the challenger to prove rights in any dispute.

How does one obtain a Trademark?

You are automatically the owner of a trademark in the sector or area your company works/evolved but this can be reinforced by registering a Trademark. The registration will give you protection throughout Canada and will prevent your trademark from being supplanted by another registered trademark. Registration requires research on trademarks and the acceptance of your request. This process generally costs less than $2000 if you use an agent, which is recommended.

What is a Patent?

A patent gives to an inventor, exclusive rights on his/her invention for one period of 20 years from the date it was granted in exchange for a public disclosure of the patent 18 months after the date of application. Payment of maintenance fees throughout the life of the patent is also required to keep it in force.

What can one Patent?

Patents are granted for products, compositions, equipment, apparatus and processes which are new, original and demonstrate inventive ingenuity.

How does one obtain a Patent?

In Canada , you must be the first person to apply for a patent for this particular invention. The process of obtaining a patent is often long, laborious and technically challenging, which is why the majority of inventors call on the services of patent agents.

What is an Industrial Design or Design Patent?

A Design Patent relates to the visual characteristics attributed to the form of an object, the patterns, design and the decorative elements of an object. To be a Design Patent holder, one must register it at the Intellectual Property office and it is valid for 10 years thereafter.

What is Integrated Circuit Topography?

Integrated Circuit Topography refers to the three-dimensional configuration of the electronic circuits used in microchips and semiconductor chips . Registration offers you exclusive rights for 10 years on your original circuit design.

What does the Plant Breeders' Rights Act cover?

Plant Breeders' Rights gives the breeder of a new and stable plant variety the exclusive right to reproduce the variety for one 18 year period. The Plant Breeders' Rights Office (PBRO) is part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

How do I ensure that my Intellectual Property Rights are respected?

It is up to you to monitor counterfeiting or plagiarism and to protect your rights in a court of law. It is often a long and costly process.