Finding patents of invention held at Library and Archives Canada

The most important thing to know when searching for a patent of invention at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is the date range when the application was filed. Following are some search options and strategies for each time period.


The original patents of invention series includes applications that originated in present-day Ontario and Quebec dating back as far as 1824. Two publications, the Index of Inventors and Inventions for Canadian Patents, 1824–1872 and the List of Canadian Patents, from the Beginning of the Patent Office, June, 1824, to the 31st of August, 1872 serve as the finding aids for this series. LAC also holds pre-Confederation patent applications that were filed in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. These documents are individually described in finding aids that can be consulted onsite in Ottawa or via Reference Services.


The Canadian Patents, 1869–1919 database is searchable by patent title keyword, inventor or year filed. For example, the patent application for a hockey goal can be found by searching with the keyword “hockey.” The associated digitized documentation includes one drawing. Continue reading

Patent of Invention Applications at Library and Archives Canada

A patent of invention application (for a patent) is a document that usually includes “an abstract, a specification, and drawings.” This type of application is important as it often becomes the official patent document once it is approved. Like the patent process itself, the structure of and type of information in each application is highly regulated. Here’s an overview of what Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds in terms of patent applications. A subsequent blog post will detail the steps to follow when searching for a specific application.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office fonds is one of the first places to look if you’re trying to get an idea of what LAC holds in terms of patents. You’ll find relevant holdings in the Patent Branch and the Industrial Design Division series within that fonds. Both series encompass the pre- and post-Confederation periods and include documentation that demonstrates the various stages of the patent application process. Please note that many of these are searchable through the Canadian Patents, 1869–1919 database. Continue reading