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Must my invention be functional before applying for protection?

March 30th, 2022

If you are new to the world of inventions, there are laws to refer to. In order to obtain patents, you may ask yourself, with good reason, whether your invention must be fully functional before taking steps to protect it. The following article will attempt to answer this question as precisely as possible.

A functional invention or not?

The answer to that question is no, but there are some things to consider. For example, you must fill out the confidential disclosure form explaining all the details of your invention so that it is well understood. You can put your invention on paper using handmade explanatory drawings. This does not have to be done by professionals. It should be noted that it is very important not to disclose the details of the invention before obtaining protection.

The path of protection of an invention

The confidential disclosure form must be signed, dated and sent by email or delivered in person at a meeting, by appointment, at Invention Québec’s offices. Upon receipt, the responsible professionals will then affix the Invention Québec seal, with a date. They will also sign the document as a witness. An official opening letter with a dedicated number will be given to you. Once the file has been opened, it is sent to a research engineer so that he can conduct an international search. If during this research, the research engineer does not fully understand the specifics of the invention, he or she may contact you for clarification. The purpose of these technical questions is to see if the invention is already patented before you deploy time, energy and money. As a result of this research, you will receive a written report that identifies all patents found and found to be relevant within the meaning of patent law, as well as recommendations as to whether or not you should proceed with the protection proceedings, also mentioning the chances of obtaining a patent following the international research that will have been carried out.

Interim applications

If after the international research, the analysis of the results is positive, that is to say that the chances of obtaining them are good, you can then file a provisional patent application that allows you to obtain a priority date to protect yourself in all signatory countries for a period of one year. This temporary protection will allow you to evaluate the potential market or to approach companies that might be interested in a partnership. When the provisional patent expires, you will have to decide in which country you want to file an official patent application. This new patent will then give you a 20-year exclusivity.

The world of inventions and the steps to take to protect your intellectual property can be complex. It is therefore better to approach professionals who will be able to adequately advise inventors on intellectual property adapted to their needs. Invention Québec was the first organization to follow each step of this process, established in March 1972, and can attest to many successes.


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