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Does the government have rights to my invention?

August 6th, 2023

When you develop a novel invention, this question may cross your mind. Does the government have rights to my invention? In Canada, intellectual property rights are governed by the Patent Act, the Trademarks Act, and other related laws. Here’s what you need to know about the government’s rights to your invention.

Generally speaking, the government does not have automatic rights to your invention. As the inventor, you hold the intellectual property rights to your creation, be it a patent, trademark, or copyright. This means that you have the exclusive right to use, market, and protect your invention. However, there are specific situations where the Canadian government may have certain rights related to your invention.

Here are some examples :

Governmental Research and Development
If your invention is the result of research or development funded by the Canadian government, there may be specific legal provisions governing intellectual property rights. We advise you to carefully read the research terms to understand the rights and obligations regarding your invention.

Government Use of Inventions
The Canadian government can use inventions for its governmental activities, including for reasons of national security, public health, or defense. However, this is usually governed by specific laws and regulations, and fair compensation may be due to the inventor (determined by the Commissioner of Patents).

Please note that the information provided here is general and for specific advice related to a particular situation, it is recommended to consult a patent lawyer or a consultant at Invention Quebec.

Patents Related to Government Innovations
If the Canadian government files a patent for an invention, it may have certain rights and privileges related to that patent. However, this typically applies to inventions developed by government employees in the course of their official duties, rather than to inventions developed by individuals independently.

Remember to protect your invention and take the necessary steps to file a patent, trademark, or copyright application, as the case may be. These steps will help you establish proof of your intellectual property right and protect your invention against any unauthorized use. In all cases, it is recommended to consult our team at Invention Quebec for advice tailored to your situation.

All in all, in Canada, you, the inventor, hold the rights to your invention. The government does not have default rights to it, except in certain specific situations. That’s why it’s important to understand the laws and take steps to protect your invention, notably by filing a patent application.

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