The thought of protecting your intellectual property can seem daunting. With all of the terminology related to intellectual property, it’s easy to be confused or have some misunderstandings. Generally when business owners discuss protecting their ideas, they are referring to copyrights, trademarks and patents.
On the most simplistic level, the differences between these three things are:
- A copyright protects the original work of authorship, such as literary, artistic, and musical work
- A trademark is a word, phrase, or symbol used to indicate the source of an item and distinguish item from others
- A patent is a grant of property rights for an invention to the inventor
To apply or register for these types of protection in Canada, visit the Canadian Intellectual Property Office online. Once there, specific links to take you to the corresponding website pages for copyrights, trademarks, or patents. Once on the specific page for the form or protection you are seeking, you are able to view the current fee schedules, search for existing copyrights, trademarks or patents, and choose the correct forms.
You must fill out a Fee Payment Form and submit it by fax, by mail, or in person. Accepted payment methods include debit card, credit card, deposit account, cheque, money order, and wire transfer. You must also submit the proper form for the type of protection you wish to apply or register for. You can submit these forms online, though some also offer the option to print and submit. The timeline and steps involved after you submit your paperwork and payment vary depending on the type of intellectual property you’re seeking, but the details are available on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website.
This information may change at anytime, so review the specific website pages before filing any paperwork to confirm you are submitting the required information properly. And as an extra level of safety, it may be wise to consult with a legal professional who specializes in intellectual property.