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Copyright at MHC

Intellectual Property

Medicine Hat College - Intellectual Property

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is all around us, in the clothes we wear, the coffee we buy, the electronic devices we use every day and the music we listen to on the way to work.  Simply put, intellectual property is a "creation of the mind," and includes inventions, symbols, logos, pictures, designs, literary and artistic works, and many other products.

What are the different types of intellectual property?

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is responsible for the protection of IP in Canada.  Businesses and individuals work  with the office  to register and protect IP.  CIPO protects the main types of IP: trademarks, patents, copyright, and industrial designTrade secrets are also considered an informal type of IP.


    • Trademarks protect brands
    • A trademark can be a combination of letters, words, sounds or designs that identify a business, good, or service and distinguishes it from competitors. Examples of trademarks are logos and taglines
    • A registered trademark gives exclusive rights to the holder for 10 years and is renewable every 10 years


    • Patents protect innovations
    • In order to be patented, an invention must be: new (the first of its kind), useful (work at a practical level), and non-obvious (what a skilled person in the trade would consider novel or inventive)
    • In Canada, you can patent a product, process, machine, or composition of matter
    • A Canadian patent protects an invention for up to 20 years


  • Copyright is the exclusive right to produce, reproduce, publish, or perform an original literary, musical, artistic, or dramatic work
  • Copyright protects original and creative works, and must meet three criteria: originality, expression, and fixation
  • Copyright is automatic in Canada – it does not require formal registration, and lasts for the life of the author +50 years

Industrial Design:

  • Industrial design is defined as the visual features of shape, configuration, pattern, or ornament applied to a manufactured article
  • Simply put, it is the features of a product that appeal to the eye
  • Protection in Canada lasts 10 years

Trade Secrets:

  • A trade secret is valuable business information that derives its value from secrecy
  • Trade secrets can relate to new technology, original products, recipes, and customer data
  • There is no formal IP process for protecting trade secrets in Canada, so they must simply be kept confidential to maintain their integrity

Still have questions?

Contact the MHC copyright office at


Canadian Intellectual Property Office (2021, April 9). IP Rights and Services. Government of Canada. internetopic.nsf/eng/Home.

Creative Commons (2021, April 9). What We Do.

World Intellectual Property Organization (2021, April 9). General Course on Intellectual Property.