Immigrant entrepreneurs coming to Canada to develop and establish a business should be familiar with Canadian intellectual property laws to protect their business and intellectual property.
Find out if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada
Intellectual property can include inventions, new technologies, new trademarks, original software, new designs, unique processes and more. The Government of Canada website says that the use of intellectual property is critical to business management and that protecting these assets can give companies a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
In Canada, you can protect your intellectual property rights by applying for a patent, trademark or copyright.
With a patent, the state gives the inventor the right to prevent others from making, using or selling the invention from the date of the patent issue, no later than 20 years after the date of application. The rights granted by a Canadian patent extend to all of Canada, but not to other countries. Also, foreign patents do not protect an invention in Canada.
The patent right belongs to the person who first submits the patent application for the invention. This means that if someone else is on the same path, you should let them know as soon as possible.
An invention is entitled to patent protection if it:
New – first in the world
Useful – functional and functional
Resourceful – Demonstrates resourcefulness and is not obvious to a person of average skill working in the field of your invention
The invention must also be:
Improving any of them
Patent infringement occurs when someone makes, uses or sells your patented invention without your permission in Canada. If you believe your patent has been infringed, you can seek damages.
Patent law does not require things to be marked “patented”. However, you can choose to mark your invention as “Patent Applied for” or “Patent Pending” after you have submitted an application. Although these sentences have no legal effect, they can warn others that you can exercise your exclusive right to make an invention after a patent is granted.
For more information, visit the Government of Canada’s Patents page. Trademarks
A trademark is a combination of letters, words, sounds or patterns that distinguish the goods or services of one company from those of other companies in the market. When you register your trademark, you get the exclusive right to use it across Canada for 10 years, renewable.
Over time, a trademark can represent not only the actual goods and services of a person or company, but also the reputation of the manufacturer.
There are two types of trademarks:
Common Mark: Includes words, designs, tastes, textures, moving images, packaging methods, holograms, sounds, smells, three-dimensional shapes, colors or combinations used to distinguish the goods or services of one person or organization from those of others.
Certification mark: Can be licensed to a number of people or companies to show that certain goods or services meet certain standards. Before filing for a trademark, a good first step is to search the Canadian Trademark Database to ensure that your trademark will not be confused with someone else’s trademark. If that happens, you could infringe on someone else’s trademark and be sued.
For more information, see the Government of Canada’s Trademark Guide.
Copyright is the exclusive right to produce, reproduce, publish or perform an original literary, artistic, dramatic or musical work. The creator of the work is usually the owner of the copyright. However, the employer can own the copyright of the works created by the employees, unless otherwise agreed. Canadian law protects all original creative works as long as they meet the requirements of copyright law. If you own the copyright of a work, you control its use, and others who want to use the work must obtain your permission.
Usually, an original work is automatically protected by copyright as soon as it is created. When you register your copyright, you will receive a certificate from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, which you can use as proof of ownership in court.
Copyright continues in Canada for your lifetime and 70 years after your death. After your death, the work is in the public domain, meaning anyone can use it.
For more information, see the Canadian Government Copyright Guide.
How to come to Canada as an entrepreneur
Immigrant entrepreneurs who want to come to Canada to develop and build a new business idea have several immigration options.
The Federal Start Up Visa program encourages immigrant entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in Canada. Successful applicants will connect with Canadian private sector organizations where they will receive funding, expertise and guidance to launch their business. Canada targets entrepreneurs with the potential to create innovative businesses that can create jobs in the Canadian labor market and compete globally.
Canadian provinces also offer different categories of entrepreneurs in their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Through these categories, immigrant entrepreneurs can settle in a certain province.
In Quebec, the Quebec Entrepreneur category is for qualified business owners and managers who can establish or acquire an agricultural, commercial or industrial business in the province of Quebec.