Changes to Canada's patent practice

Harmonization in spirit and practice

On October 30, 2019, Canada's new Patent Rules will come into effect under an amended Patent Act, marking the most recent chapter in the evolution of patent practice in Canada.

The coming changes reflect Canada's adoption of the Patent Law Treaty. Other recent changes reflect the terms of Canada's free trade agreements with the USA, Mexico, Europe and countries of the Asia Pacific - measures that in large part bring Canada's patent regime into procedural harmony with the practice in other jurisdictions.

For innovators, these changes lend some consistency to international portfolio management, while leaving the fundamental requirements for patentability and prosecution practices in Canada unchanged.

On these pages, we highlight the key aspects of the recent changes to patent practice in Canada, including the new Patent Rules, and present some tips and insights to help you prepare accordingly.

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Patent practice update: At a glance
Prosecution Phase Change
Filing Relaxed filing requirements
Restoration of priority available
No late national phase filing as of right
Examination Shortened prosecution timelines:
4 months to respond to Action
Discretionary extension to 6 months
12 months to reinstate as of right for failure to respond
Allowance Shortened timeline:
4 months to pay fee
12 months to reinstate as of right for failure to pay issue fee
Annual Renewal Fees Notice required before abandonment:
Pay by 6 months from due date or 2 months from notice, no reinstatement as of right
Abandonment/Reinstatement Reinstatement for unintentional abandonment now available in some circumstances
Fees No change, including no claims fees
Assignment Simplified procedure for recording transfers of ownership
Patent Term Extension Certificates of Supplementary Protection unchanged
Enforcement File Wrapper Estoppel
Patent Agent Privilege