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Case law in Canada

Key cases

Schlumberger Canada Ltd. v. Canada (Commissioner of Patents) (1981)

The case was concerned with the patentability of "a process whereby the measurements obtained in the boreholes are recorded on magnetic tapes, transmitted to a computer programmed according to the mathematical formulae set out in the specifications and converted by the computer into useful information produced in human readable form[1]." The application for patent was rejected by the Commissioner of Patents. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Commissioner of Patents. On October 21, 1981, the Supreme Court refused leave to the appeal of the Federal Court of Appeal's decision[1].

Software patents, according to patent lawyer Eugene Derényi, are widely available in Canada since a 1981 court decision "Schlumberger Canada Ltd. v. Commissioner of Patents".[2] According to Donald M. Cameron, the Patent Office took "a noticeably "anti-computer patent" stance immediately after the Schlumberger decision". This changed in 1984 with a directive from the Commissioner of Patents[1].

This ruling was summarised in a later ruling by the Federal Court as "the Federal Court of Appeal found that use of a computer did not make a mathematical formula patentable." (from Amazon v. Commissioner for Patents)

Re Motorola Inc. Patent Application No. 2,085,228 (1999)

Re Motorola Inc. Patent Application No. 2,047,731 (1999)

Amazon's 1-click patent appeal (2010)

(See: Amazon v. Commissioner for Patents (2010, Canada))

The Canadian patent office rejected Amazon's application for a patent on one-click shopping but a 2010 decision of the Canadian appeal court ruled that the patent office was wrong to reject it.

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External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Donald M. Cameron. Patents for computer-implemented inventions and business methods, p. 19