Intellectual Property, sometimes referred to as Industrial Property, is a general term applied to patents, industrial designs, trade-marks, domain names, copyright, plant patents, integrated circuit topographies, trade secrets, confidential information, privacy & publicity rights and know-how.

It is governed by federal statutes, including the Patent Act, the Industrial Design Act, the Trade-marks Act, the Copyright Act, the Plant Breeders' Rights Act and the Integrated Circuit Topography Act, provincial statutes with respect to privacy & publicity and freedom of information and common law.

This brief summary will introduce the various elements of “intellectual property” or “IP”. It is important to be informed and this overview will provide some insight into the area of IP. We strongly recommend that you seek professional advice at an early stage of your development so that the implications of your actions and potential options and pitfalls are explained.

It is also important to note that for some types of intellectual property, especially patents and industrial designs, it is critical to KEEP YOUR IDEAS SECRET and confidential – at least until you have made informed decisions as to whether to file for protection. If you don’t, you may inadvertently damage or destroy some or all of your potential rights. You should also be aware that theoretically DELAY CAN BE PREJUDICIAL, for example if someone else develops a similar concept and files for protection first. Sometimes, a need to delay filing (e.g. to complete product development) must be balanced against a need to file quickly (e.g. to reduce the risk that your competitor may file first). Your patent professional can help you address these issues.