Skip to content City of Toronto

What is Intellectual Property?

Intellectual Property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.

IP is protected in law by, for example, trademarks, copyright, patents and, industrial design which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create.

Examples of Intellectual Property

Trademark is a recognizable sign, design or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others. The trademark owner can be an individual, business organization, or any legal entity. A trademark may be located on a package, a label, a voucher or on the product itself.
Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. When you own copyright on a work this gives the owner control on how it's used. Others who want to use the work have to buy or otherwise get the owner's permission. You can limit use to protect the value of the copyrighted work.
Patents provide a legally-protected exclusive right to an invention. In this way, patents serve as a reward for ingenuity.  Patent protection applies in the country that issues the patent. In Canada, it extends for up to 20 years from date of filing. Patents can be sold, licensed or used as an asset to negotiate funding.
Industrial Design Industrial designs are product features that appeal to the eye. They can be a new shape for the hood or fenders of a car, the original pattern in a woven sweater or all of the visual features of a computer monitor. A product's visual appeal gives it a competitive edge, setting it apart from others and making it the one people will buy.
To be eligible for registration, a design must be original, i.e., not closely resemble a design already registered.
Registration is intended to protect new designs and not those that have been in the marketplace for some time. As well, what is protected is the appearance of the article, not how the article works, how it's built or what it's made of.
Industrial design registration gives you exclusive, legally-enforceable rights for up to 10 years in Canada. Others cannot make or sell the design without your permission. You can sell your rights or license others to make, use and sell your design.

Canadian Intellectual Property Office:

Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Must have an appointment.
Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Place du Portage I
50 Victoria St., Room C-229
Gatineau, QC K1A 0C9

Toll-free (Canada and U.S.)
8:30 am – 5 pm (EST)
Monday - Friday
(except Statutory Holidays)
seconds ago
a minute ago
minutes ago
an hour ago
hours ago
a day ago
days ago
Invalid characters found