Canada's patent legislation is a federal law called the Patent Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. P-4. The most up-to-date version should always be available from the federal Justice Department's Website at this address:
The Web site of the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) allows to see recent revisions of the law, regulations adopted under the law, and even search legal cases with reference to this law:
Relative to software
Subsection 27(8) of the Patent Act reads: "No patent shall be granted for any mere scientific principle or abstract theorem."
Software or computer programs are prohibited per se ("as such") in virtue of this subsection. However, this exclusion has been trivially circumvented by claiming patentability of "statutory subject matter" (any "invention" defined under section 2) to which software was integrated. "Computer-implemented inventions" may be patented and have been patented.
Definition of "invention"
As quoted in Amazon v. Commissioner for Patents (2010, Canada), the Patent Act says:
2. In this Act, except as otherwise provided, [...]
« invention »
“invention” means any new and useful art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement in any art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter;
International Agreements or Conventions
The following international Agreements or Conventions apply to Canada:
- 1883 - The Paris Convention
- 1947 - General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) [today World Trade Organization (WTO)]
- 1978 - Patent Co-operation Treaty (PCT)
- 1994 - North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Patent office decisions
Since 2005, the Canadian patent office's non-legally-binding Manual of Patent Office Practice talks of "computer-implemented inventions" and says "an act or series of acts performed by some physical agent upon some physical object and producing in such object some change either of character or condition" and "it must produce an essentially economic result in relation to trade, industry or commerce".
- (See also: Canadian patent courts and appeals)
Related pages on en.swpat.org
- http://www.opic.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/home - Canada's patent office
- Software Patents In Canada, Japan and Europe, section 3(d) talks of the 1981 Schlumberger case
- Software-Related Patents: Canada
- Cameron’s Canadian Patent and Trade Secrets Law
- Software copyright and software patents, by Eugene Derényi, Stikeman Elliott LLP
- Canadian Patent Appeal Board rejects business method patents, plus an article by Michael Geist, 2009
- Flora 2003 report on software patents in Canada
- AIPLA: About software and business method patents in Canada
- Canadian patent law, Wikipedia
- Canada's software patent problem
- C'est é-p@tent! - A bilingual blog of interest to patent practitioners in Quebec and Canada
- Patentable Subject Matter – New Notices From Canadian Patent Office, Anticipated Issues for the Court?, 15 May 2013, slaw.ca
- The law is also available in French at: http://laws.justice.gc.ca/fra/P-4/index.html
- Manual of Patent Office Practice, c.16 revised February 18, 2005.
- Donald M. Cameron. Patents for computer-implemented inventions and business methods, p. 9
This wiki is part of the End Software Patents (ESP) campaign (donate). For more information, see: