property", known as patents, trade marks, copyrights,
industrial designs and trade secrets, is a cornerstone of
business. Like other valuable business assets, this
"property" must be protected.
Where would Coca Cola Company be if everyone had free
access to its "Coke" trade mark?
are the differences between the various categories of
Intellectual property? To
illustrate, consider how a new and improved garden tool might be
protected from exploitation by competitors.
protect an "invention" which is defined as "any
new and useful art, process, machine, manufacture or composition
of matter", or any new and useful improvement to these
items. In the case
of the garden tool, a patent might protect the structure of the
tool, how it works or the method of assembling it.
More patent information. (here)
MARKS are used to distinguish one trader's wares
(i.e. goods) or services from another's.
They should not simply describe the character or quality
of the wares or services. In the case of the garden tool, the trade mark is the name or
logo/design under which the tool is known or marketed.
A good example in the distinctive "Kodak" trade
mark for photographic products.
trade mark information. (here)
DESIGNS in Canada (called a "design patent"
in the US) protect an object's shape, pattern or ornamentation
which appeals to and is judged solely by the eye.
For example, the garden tool may have a distinctive shape
or appealing ornamental (i.e. nonfunctional) aspect which can be
protected by an industrial design.
The industrial design would not stop others from making a
garden tool different in appearance but identical in function.
to the Guide to Industrial Designs from CIPO
(Canadian Intellectual Property Office) for more information.
protects how an idea is expressed, and not the idea itself.
Copyright subsists in every original literary, dramatic,
musical and artistic work.
A "literary work" includes, for example, books,
blue prints and computer programs, and an "artistic
work" includes paintings, drawings, photographs and the
the garden tool example, copyright may exist in any labels
affixed to the tool or in instruction manuals, but won't protect
how the tool functions.
copyright information. (here)
SECRETS, also known as "confidential
information", may consist of an unpatented but secret
formula, device or industrial process known only to a few
patents, a trade secret need not have any novelty, although it
must not be allowed to become public property or public
stating that something is a trade secret or is confidential does
not make it so unless it is.
Anyone who uncovers a trade secret by examining a product
on sale, or in any other proper manner, has the right to use it.
There are obviously no registration requirements for
This web site is intended to provide general information
about intellectual property and should not be considered
as advice on the specifics of your case.
Each situation is different, and so to discuss your
particular circumstances, please get in touch with me.
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