The amount of time that it takes to obtain a patent is dependent upon many different factors. Although a patent can, in some circumstances be fasttracked and might be issued in as little as 18months, it is not uncommon for a Canadian patent application to remain pending for upwards of 8 years. Let’s take a look at the process your patent application will go through to give you a better understanding of the length of time it may take to obtain a patent.
Step 1: Patent search: after your initial meeting with your patent agent, a patent search is often completed to make a determination with regards to patentability. The length of time a search takes varies based upon the complexity of your invention.
Step 2: Preparation and filing of your application: After the search is completed and you have had an opportunity to review the results, your next step is to have your application prepared. Like the search, the length of time it takes to prepare your application is based upon the complexity of your invention. Additional time may also be required to obtain appropriate drawings from a draftsman, if required. Once the application is complete, filing of the application can occur quickly.
Step 3: Publishing of your application: 18 months after the filing of your application (or the earliest priority date), your application will be laid-open to the public.
Step 4: Examination: After filing of your application in Canada, you have 5 years to pay the examination fee. Only after this fee is paid will your application be added to the list of applications being reviewed by the Examiner’s. It is not uncommon to receive your first Examiner’s report more than 2 years after payment of the examination fee. After the first Examiner’s report, the length of time the application remains in examination is determined by the number of Examiner’s reports that are received. In some instances, a Notice of Allowance is the first correspondence that is received from the Examiner, while in other cases two to three Examiner’s reports must be responded to before a Notice of Allowance is received. Of course, a Notice of Allowance will not be sent for every patent application. There are certain circumstances in which examination can be expedited.
Step 5: Allowance or Rejection: After receiving a Notice of Allowance, the issue fee can be paid. After the issue fee is paid it will take several months before you receive your Letters Patent. If your application is rejected, you can appeal to the Commissioner of Patents. If your appeal is rejected, you can take your case to the Federal Court of Canada.
It is important to note that while your application is pending in the patent office, you are required to pay yearly maintenance fees to keep your application in good standing. Failure to pay these fees results in abandonment of your application.