Intellectual Property aka IP refers to creations of the mind and the ownership of an idea or design by the person who came up with it. While my mind is creating and imagining a world when we don’t need to worry about quarantine and wearing a mask, other peoples minds are quite innovative and creating new inventions, new technologies, brands and software. By registering your IP with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”), it gives you certain exclusive rights of your distinct creative design, meaning that nobody else can copy or reuse that creation without your permission.
There are five types of IP that can be registered with CIPO: patents, industrial designs, trademarks, copyright and trade secrets. Here is a brief breakdown of what each of those are:
- Patents give you exclusive rights to your innovations and the right to exclude others from making, using or selling your invention. It can cover new inventions or any new and useful improvement to an existing invention.
- Industrial designs relate to the visual features of shape, configuration, pattern or ornament, or any combination of these features, applied to a finished article. An example of this would be the shape and design of a cell phone that gives it a competitive edge, and also is appealing to the eye.
- Trademarks distinguish your product or service and may be one or a combination of words, sounds or designs used to distinguish the goods or services from those of others in the marketplace.
- Copyright gives you the sole right to produce or reproduce a work or a substantial part of it, in any form, and includes the right to perform the work, mostly in the form of literature.
- Trade secrets include your valuable business informationthat derives its value from the secrecy and includes various assets such as sales methods, distribution methods, customer profiles, client lists, supplier lists, product ingredients and formulas, etc.
As you can see, each type of IP is specific and while I provided a brief description of each, they are all very technical and when looking at registering your IP, you should only trust this to the professionals. Property Law is a very specific type of law and the lawyer registering your IP must be listed with CIPO in order to register for you.
Inga B. Andriessen is a registered Trademark Agent, so if you are thinking that a Trademark might be something you want, reach out to her and she can walk you through the process.
Christine Allan, Law Clerk