Green Tech Patents - How Canadian Government is Helping the Process
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
With the world beginning to reopen following the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us may be feeling a new mindfulness when it comes to the environment and the effects that our civilization has had on it.
Similarly, with many inventors focusing on technologies that either help resolve or mitigate environmental impacts, or conserve the natural environment and resources that are present, perhaps it is a good time to turn our attention towards the intersection of patent rights and the environment.
Several jurisdictions around the world have implemented special legislative provisions that incentivize the patenting of inventions that are geared to help, or preserve, the natural environment. In this article, we’ll take a look at how Canada has implemented such provisions.
Canada’s Patent Rules provide a mechanism for advancing examination for “green technologies”. Examination is the process by which an application for a patent is scrutinized by an Examiner at a patent office, in order to determine whether the application meets the necessary criteria to issue as a patent. The examination process can typically take 2 to 5 years. In select cases it can be shorter, while in others much longer. Therefore, being able to take advantage of an advanced examination process can allow for inventors or companies to possess the enforceable right much sooner.
Rule 84 (1) of the Patent Rules states:
In respect of an application for a patent that is open to public inspection at the Patent Office, the Commissioner must advance out of its routine order the examination of the application on the request of
(b) the applicant, if the applicant files with the Commissioner a statement indicating that the application relates to technology the commercialization of which would help to resolve or mitigate environmental impacts or to conserve the natural environment or natural resources.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada saw a 16% increase in the number of environmental technology patents filed between the years 2000 and 2011. While this increase is definitely good news, Canada is still lagging far behind many other countries, such as the UK, which experienced an increase of 63%; Mexico, which experienced an increase of 149%; Brazil, which experienced an increase of 185%; and China, which experienced an increase of a whopping 1040%, all during the same timeframe.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) states that in order to take advantage of the advanced examination process, applicants need to submit a letter that includes:
1. a request for an advanced examination;
2. a statement indicating that the application relates to technology that if commercialized would help to resolve or mitigate environmental impacts or to conserve the natural environment or natural resources; and
3. an early laid open date (only if the request is made before the application has been opened to public inspection, usually 18 months after the filing date).
Typically, once the request for advanced examination of a green technology is processed, the first office action can be expected within 3 months. It is important to remember however, that if time extensions to reply are requested or if the prosecution process is abandoned, the application will be removed from the expedited process and returned to the regular process.
If you have created or invented something relating to the environment or green technologies which you feel may be patentable, please feel free to reach out to MBM for a free consultation.
This article is general information only and is not to be taken as legal or professional advice. This article does not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and MBM Intellectual Property Law LLP. If you would like more information about intellectual property, please feel free to reach out to MBM for a free consultation.