What kind of ideas can be protected?

What kind of ideas can be protected?

In Canada, as in most other countries, many forms of ideas can be protected in one fashion or another provided they meet the requirements of the laws relating to such protection.

However, some ideas cannot currently be protected by traditional statutory forms of protection. In general, these include:

  • Scientific theorems or principles as such
  • Laws of nature
  • Business schemes as such
  • The ideas of a person other than yourself unless they have been assigned to you
  • Ideas that are of a public nature in Canada or in another country
  • Ideas that would obviously occur to someone dealing with the subject matter
  • Ideas relating to the treatment of human

For the most part, if the idea is one that a) you have developed; b) that has not been publicly disclosed; and c) that appears to be novel, it may be a good candidate for some form of intellectual property law protection.

Frequently, questions arise about “games”. As a general rule, an idea about “how” a game may be played is not patentable. On the other hand, written rules for a gameboard may be the subject of copyright. The name of the game may be protected as a trade-mark. Also, the physical apparatus of a new or different kind of game may be protectable by a patent or an industrial design.