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The Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) maintains lists of competent professionals who are trained and experienced in intellectual property law. Before receiving a patent, the inventor must fill out a patent application. Preparing, prosecuting and completing the patent application can be a complex task. First, the inventor must find a patent agent. A patent agent is a registered representative of the Canadian Patent Office, properly trained in the rules and regulations of patent law. The patent agent represents the inventor before the Canadian Patent Office in a similar fashion to how a lawyer represents a client in court.

Before filing a patent application, a search of the existing patent records is necessary to see if the invention or a similar invention has been patented before. There are hundreds of thousands of patent records in Canada and approximately 15 million patent records worldwide. With this many patent records, it would be impossible to compare each patent. Therefore, the Canadian Patent Office issues an index with major subject headings for easy reference to patented products.

The patent application must include a clear and complete description of the invention and its usefulness and claims that define the boundaries of the patent protection. The application must be incredibly clear and complete to allow anyone with average skill in the field to make or use the invention.

There is a prescribed fee to file claims, along with a negotiated fee between the patent agent and the inventor. This makes the filing and application process somewhat expensive, but excludes casual inventors from filing invalid patent applications.

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