Small entity means really small entity
In Canada, a small entity must have 50 or fewer employees, meaning that far fewer private sector enterprises qualify for small entity status in Canada than in the United States.
The test is only applied once – at the time the application is filed in Canada (unlike the US, entity status does not change in Canada after filing).
The exemption is also available for universities. Current practice is to extend this exemption to non-Canadian universities. Government research institutes and laboratories are more difficult (consult us for analysis of your particular circumstances).
Entities that qualify for small entity status will save approximately $3000 over the life of the patent on Canadian government fees compared to large entities. Patents of entities that incorrectly claim small entity status are void and unenforceable.
Many Canadian patent firms refuse to file applications that claim small entity status – we believe that this is wrong, and help all of our clients to work through the test carefully, and caution them that when there is any doubt they should file as a large entity.