Contact Us

Prairie Law Group

Ridgway & Company

Barristers and Solicitors

205-3550 Taylor Street E

Saskatoon SK S7H 5H9 (Map)

Tel: 306.244.7775

Fax: 306.244.7776

Toll Free Fax: 888.491.7227

 

Office Hours:

Monday to Friday

8:30 am to 12:00 noon

1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

After hours and weekends:

By appointment

Intellectual Property Law is a broad area that encompasses the following specific topics.  The information provided on this page should not be relied on for specific situations and no warranty is given with respect to accuracy or that it will be useful for your situation. Please contact us to arrange a personal consultation.

Copyright

Copyright protects the creator of a "work". A "work" carries a fairly broad definition, which includes writings, photographs, videos, performances, artist creations including paintings, scuptures, etc., and includes compilations of other works.  The term "copyright" is a bit misleading because copyright comprises a bundle of rights. "Copyright" includes not only the right to copy, which is obvious, but also, (depending on the work), the right to perform or exhibit, the right to use, etc. Each of these rights can also be restricted by territory or time, such as by licensing.  A creator of a work also maintains a "moral" right to a work, unless it is specifically surrendered. The moral right governs the right of the creator to not have her or his work defaced. It is important to note that there is no copyright in ideas, unless they are reduced to a written or other tangible form.  Copyright arises on creation of the work, which means you can use the © symbol on any work that you have personally created.  Copyrights may also be registered which provides you with proof that the work is yours, and establishes the date the copyright was issued.

Copyrights are governed by Federal law in Canada, and any challenges or prosecutions regarding copyright are handled in Federal Court.

This is but a very brief overview of copyright. If you would like to know more, or if you are interested in registering a copyright, please contact us for a personal consultation.

Patents

Patents provide a limited term of protection for inventions of a commercial or useful nature.  Generally speaking an invention may be patented, but not an idea for an invention. Prosecuting a patent application can be a lengthy and costly process.  Patents must be registered in multiple countries, if you wish to have worldwide protection.  Protection of your patent is not automatic.  You must be prepared to prosecute any violations of your patent wherever they may occur.

The cost of obtaining a patent, and the spectre of having to pay for prosecuting any violations of the patent often dissuades many inventors from following through with a patent application unless they are certain they have a means to exploit the commercial value of the invention. 

It is important to note that any disclosure of an invention prior to making a patent application can void the patent, so if you have an idea for an invention, you need to keep it secret until you start the patent process. 

This is a very brief overview of Patents.  If you require further information, please contact us for a consultation.

Trademarks (Common Law and Registered)

A trademark is a unique mark or symbol that is used in conjunction with a product or service. The mere use of the symbol or mark with a trade or service gives rise to a common-law trademark, signified by the ™ symbol.  Assuming your trademark is in fact unique and does not infringe another trademark, you can register the trademark, which gives you the right to use the ® symbol with your trademark.  A registered trademark has several advantages.  For example, protecting a common law trademark requires that you prove your ownership of the trademark each time that you are in court. A registered trademark is proof of ownership.

For further information, or if you wish to register a trademark, contact us to arrange a consultation.

Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets are technically not part of Intellectual Property law as there is no statute governing "trade secrets".  Trade Secrets are a creation of contract. The concept behind a "trade secret" is to protect your invention or process simply by keeping it secret.  This doesn't work for technologies or inventions that are obvious, but it may work for things such as a unique manufacturing process, or a secret recipe.  When you do disclose the trade secret, for example to an employee, you would require them to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which may carry some form or pecuniary penalty if they breach the agreement.

The weakness of protecting your invention as a Trade Secret, is that once your "secret" is out, there is no way to get it back, no way to put the genie back in the bottle. Further, if the person that disclosed your secret is judgment proof, (i.e. they don't have any money or assets), then you will have no compensation for the loss of your trade secret.  Trade secrets are still used extensively despite the inherent weaknesses.

Please contact us to arrange for a consultation on this subject.

Non-Disclosure Agreements

Where a person or a business has specialized information, protection is often obtained through the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA). The difficulty arises where you are working with a company with many different individuals that may have access to the confidential information. It may be insufficient to have an NDA with the company. You should also consider getting each person that will be exposed to the information, under an NDA as well.   Like Trade Secrets, if a person breaches the NDA, you may have no recourse against a person that is judgment proof.

Contact us for further information and to arrange a consultation.

Contact

Written by James Ridgway

Phone: 306.244.7775

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.