Your invention is your business’ competitive advantage. Patent protection is a key business tool to claim your exclusivity in the marketplace. Froese Law devises strategies to protect your monopoly in the marketplace through patent protection. We handle patent matters, including drafting, filing, prosecution, and enforcement both in Canada and throughout the world through our network of foreign associates. We have an experienced team able to manage global patent portfolios, negotiate and draft related agreements, and strategically obtain effective protection for our clients.
Patentability, landscape, and freedom-to-operate searches and opinions
Patent application drafting, filing, prosecution, and maintenance
Strategic patent portfolio construction
Provisional patent application filing
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application filing
Worldwide patent portfolio management
Patent portfolio audits
Cease and desist letters
FROESE LAW SERVICES
What is a patent?
A patent application is a technical document that becomes equivalent to a statutory instrument when issued by a national patent office. An issued patent has the effect of a new law in the country that issued the patent, prohibiting all others from making, using, or selling the patented invention in that country.
Patents can protect machines, compounds, processes, methods, and products produced by patented methods or processes. Everything from consumer products to methods of mining may be protected by a patent.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why file patents?
Patents may form a significant part of the valuation of a company and are often an important component of any financing or sale of a startup business. In addition to creating an advantage in the marketplace, by helping to exclude competitors patents provide a measure of the underlying innovative efforts of a company. There are significant advantages to filing and registering patents, such as:
Right to exclude competitors from copying your innovative products
Exclusive ownership rights across Canada
20 year life from the original filing date
Support your brand with unique products protected by patents
Record of your company’s innovation and product development
How long is the patent registration process?
It typically takes three to four months from start to finish in order to prepare and file a patent application. This drafting process includes back and forth exchanges between the patent lawyer and the inventors as the application draft is being prepared and reviewed.
Obtaining a registered patent takes additional time, during which the patent application is examined by the national patent offices where an application has been filed. Optionally, the examination process may be further extended to allow a company’s product development to catch up with the research that led to the patent.
After a patent application has been filed with a patent office, the patent office will review the application for formalities before taking it up for examination. In general, the active prosecution of a patent application takes about eighteen months to three years after examination has started. This estimated time frame depends upon the level of complexity of issues raised during the application process. (i.e. type of rejections raised by Examiner or amount of similar prior art technical references to avoid). The delay in obtaining a patent registration does not affect the entity’s ability to use the invention.
The start date of the examination may optionally be delayed by filing a provisional patent application and then filing an international PCT patent application before national filing the patent application for examination by a patent office.
This optional delay is useful in delaying the full costs of registration and providing time to see if the patent is still useful to the business before incurring those additional costs. A common strategy is to file the international PCT patent application to provide time to evaluate the value of the technology, before deciding which countries to enter and seek national protection. Determining where and how to your patent application is part of an overall portfolio strategy that our experienced experts can help you develop.
What is Canada’s Patent System?
It is important to note that not all inventions can be registered in Canada – the Canadian Patent Act contains some prohibitions. For example, methods of medical treatment are patentable in the United States, but not in Canada. Similar prohibitions may apply in the European Union, China and other countries. However, in some cases it is possible to reword the claims for a specific national office and obtain similar protection. Our experts can discuss your invention, planned products, and your overall business plan in order to develop a strategy for effectively protecting your idea.
Do I need a patentability opinion?
Although not mandatory, it is recommended to conduct a patentability search prior to starting the drafting process. Depending upon the prior art patents identified by the search, it may also be helpful to spend the time to review the identified patents to provide This is particularly relevant for the launch of new brands. The trademark search will determine whether there may be challenges that could pose an obstacle to your company’s registration and/or use of the trademark. As mentioned above, not every trademark is capable of registration. Also, the search is important as we can determine whether another entity is already using a trademark that is identical or similar to your company’s trademark.
What if I get a cease and desist letter?
These types of letters are usually sent as a warning and should not be ignored. The letter informs the recipient that they have allegedly infringed the sender’s intellectual property rights, and asks them to stop their actions immediately. The letter warns the recipient of potential legal action if they do not comply with the order. It is important to contact a patent lawyer to better review these types of letters to determine whether and how you should respond.
Froese Law is an award-winning cross-border branding, corporate and commercial law firm. Our team of lawyers and legal professionals are dedicated to structuring your business, negotiating your contracts and protecting, enforcing and commercializing your brand. Contact us today for a free consultation!