ESP Wiki is looking for moderators and active contributors!



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."[1]

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"[2] 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[3]:

  • 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)

Case law

See also: Amazon ruling by Canadian Federal Court on 14 October 2010

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".[4]

See also: Canadian patent courts and appeals

Related pages on ESP Wiki

External links


  1. The law is also available in French at:
  2. Manual of Patent Office Practice, c.16 revised February 18, 2005.
  3. Donald M. Cameron. Patents for computer-implemented inventions and business methods, p. 9