For many years, Canada's intellectual property legislation
was viewed as an outlier by other developed countries. From
unlimited wares and services for a single filing fee, to the lack
of a classification system for wares and services, to a failure to
participate in international trade-mark application protocols,
Canada's intellectual property regime was seen as languishing
in a past era.
The road to change has begun. On January 27, 2014, the Canadian
government tabled five intellectual property treaties in the House
of Commons. These treaties are the Madrid Protocol; the Hague
Agreement; the Singapore Treaty; the Nice Agreement; and the Patent
The Madrid Protocol enables trade-mark owners to more easily
obtain registered trade-mark protection by permitting the filing of
a single application to register trade-marks in multiple countries.
The Hague Agreement enables similar protection for industrial
design (design patent) owners.
The Singapore Treaty and Nice Agreement relate to administrative
aspects of the trade-mark registration process. In particular,
there has been significant discussion in the past surrounding the
Nice Agreement, as its adoption will result in a dramatic shift in
the Canadian trade-mark regime by implementing a class-based system
of goods and services. The Singapore Treaty facilitates a simpler
and smoother registration process by implementing certain
requirements and standards when it comes to applications.
The Patent Law Treaty harmonizes a number of formal procedures
in respect of patent applications and patents, including, for
example, harmonizing the requirements to obtain a filing date for
In accordance with usual Parliamentary procedure, there is a 21
sitting day waiting period before the government can introduce the
required implementing legislation for these treaties. By our
calculations, this period ends in the first week of March. We
anticipate that the implementing legislation will necessitate many
amendments to Canada's intellectual property
This is the culmination of many years of debate and to the
extent these treaties are ratified, Canada's intellectual
property regime will finally be consistent with that of most other
developed countries. However, given the need for significant
amendments to our country's current intellectual property
legislation, we believe that there remains a long road ahead.
Canada is not bound by these treaties until the implementing
legislation is adopted.
We will publish a further update in due course.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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