Intellectual Property

Intellectual property, simply defined, is any form of knowledge or expression created with one's intellect. This includes inventions, computer software, trademarks, literary, artistic, musical or visual works, samples, devices, demonstrations, trade secrets, technical information, computer systems, financial data, business plans, personal information, results of research and other data in either oral or written form.

Inventions, if of commercial use and value, may be protected by patent, registered industrial design, trademark or copyright. As per University Policy, inventions that could be commercialized should be reported to ISS. Disclosure of your invention can be made on a confidential basis, and such disclosure will not affect the ability to patent. Considering your intellectual property protection options should be one of the first steps in the commercialization of your technology. ISS will assist you to choose the option suitable for your particular discovery. Consult the ISS office as early as possible in the process.

Feel free to contact Innovation Support Services or to fill out the online Invention Disclosure Form to have your request for the protection of intellectual property considered.

Further information on intellectual property rights may be found on the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s website and are the foundation of the definitions.


Patents apply to newly developed technology as well as to improvements on products or processes. Patents provide a time-limited, legally protected, exclusive right to make, use and sell an invention. In this way, patents serve as a reward for ingenuity.

To be patented, an idea must be: novel, non-obvious and useful.

Patents have a lifetime of 20 years and during this time the intellectual property is the sole property of the assignee. The patent enables its owner to prevent others from making, using, selling or importing the technology or product claimed in the patent.

Danger of public disclosure

If you do not file a patent application for an invention before disclosing it to the public, you will not be able to patent it in any country other than Canada or the United States. In Canada and the United States, you have a one year grace period after your public disclosure to apply for patent protection – after this time your invention will be un-patentable


A trademark is a combination of letters, words, sounds or designs that distinguishes one company’s goods or services from those of others in the marketplace.

A trademark is unique. It is important to a company because over time, a trademark comes to stand not only for the actual goods and services you sell, but also for your company’s reputation and brand.

By registering your trademark, you protect it under law from misuse by others, and you gain exclusive rights to use it throughout Canada for 15 years (a term that you can renew).

Industrial design

If you're producing distinctive-looking new products, you'll want to learn about industrial designs and find out about registering your designs.

Industrial designs are the features of a product that appeal to the eye: the contour of a car hood, the pattern of a knitted sweater, the shape of a computer monitor. Distinctive and attractive features like these give products a competitive edge.

If you produce distinctive-looking new products, you will want to register your designs.

When you register your industrial design, you gain exclusive, legally enforceable rights for up to 10 years in Canada. You may sell your rights or license others to make, use and sell your design.

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