The U.S. and Canada share many similarities when it comes to patent law. Generally speaking, if you're getting a patent in Canada or the United States, then it's a good idea to get it in the other country as well. That's because patents only apply to individual countries, and generally not for international borders. With that in mind, here are some CIPO laws and how they compare between Canada and the United States.
Both Canada and the US have a one year grace period related to public disclosure of an invention. You have one year after a public disclosure to file a patent application. After this one year deadline, no further applications can be filed for the invention, although it may be possible to file applications related to improvements. While both countries provide a grace period, best practices would be to file a patent application before disclosing the invention to the public.
In both Canada and the United States, a patent can only protect a single invention. Where multiple inventions could be disclosed in a single application, it is common for applicants to file divisional applications to protect each of the inventions.
In Canada, if an Examiner (or a judge) determines that the divisional applications relate to the same invention, this can create an issue called double patenting which can prevent issuance of a patent or invalidate an otherwise valid patent.
In the United States, when double patenting is raised by an Examiner, a terminal disclaimer may be an appropriate measure of overcoming the rejection and allowing all the applications to proceed to issuance.
Unlike Canada, the United States has a process through which applicants can file a patent application that remains confidential and is valid for only a single year, this is a provisional application. In most cases, a provisional application becomes a priority document for future applications. Provisional applications do not have the same filing requirements as non-provisional and Canadian patent applications and can, therefore, be an inexpensive first step in the patent process. Provisional applications do not exist in Canada. The value of a provisional application will vary depending on a number of factors.
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