Inventors need protection to keep their inventions and ideas exclusively to themselves. One of the ways inventors can protect their rights is by applying for patents. The Canadian Patent Act outlines the procedures and requirements needed to obtain a patent in Canada, including any necessary fees.
In Canada, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, or CIPO, is the branch of government that deals with patents, trademarks and copyrights. CIPO enforces the Canadian Patent Act and is involved with any issues related to patenting in Canada. CIPO also has the right to adjust any patent-related fees according to current situations or economic conditions.
Patent fees are designed to cover the cost of the complex process of the approval and maintenance of the patent itself. Patent-related documents must be handled by a great number of staff members, whose salaries are covered by the fees. The fees also take care of any followups related to patents.
The initial application fee required to apply for patent is $100 (Canadian). However, patents also require a yearly maintenance fee. Maintenance fees may increase with the anniversaries of a patent's filing date so the longer the patent is maintained, the higher the maintenance fees. These may range from $50 CAD for the first few years up to $650 CAD toward the end of the patent's term. Maintenance fees are due by the anniversary of the application date and may be paid in advance if preferred.
Under the Canadian Patent Act, maintenance fees must be paid on time or the patent will expire. A notice will be sent if payment was not made and the patent holder has one year from the anniversary due date to pay the fees plus a late charge. There are no exceptions for non-payment and once a patent is considered expired, it cannot be revived.
Due to the fact that patent applicants come from all over the world, the incoming demands on CIPO's staff can exceed their capacity to processing them. The always increasing workload creates a need for more staff, thus requiring more revenue to pay for their salaries. This creates a situation where CIPO must occasionally raise application and maintenance fees to meet such costs.