Many first-time inventors are surprised at the costs and time involved in obtaining a patent. “Why is a patent so expensive to obtain and takes so many years to issue?”, they ask.
Because all patents applications must be carefully prepared by a qualified professional and must then go through a rigorous examination process.
At its core, patents are a bargain between an inventor and society (in this case the people of Canada).
In return for a 20 year legal monopoly on his invention, the inventor agrees to teach society a new and non-obvious invention, one that the world has never before seen or contemplated. No mere idea, the inventor also teaches society how to make and use his invention in the best way the inventor knows how.
The patent application is the vehicle through which the inventor teaches his invention to society. This is one of the reasons why patents are published publicly, and are even available on Google. Once a patent’s monopoly term expires, anyone in the society can take advantage of the invention.
This bargain is also why a patent application must be examined by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) before the patent application can be approved as an issued patent. Among other things, CIPO searches the state of the art to ensure that the invention as taught is truly new and non-obvious – thus ensuring the integrity of the bargain. This examination process is rigorous and patent applications typically require amendments before the CIPO is satisfied that the invention is new and non-obvious.
And that’s why a patent can cost thousands of dollars and take a few years to issue.