President Park Geun-Hye of South Korea and Prime Minister Steven
Harper of Canada formally signed the Canada-South Korea Free Trade
Agreement (CKFTA) on Monday, September 22, 2014. The agreement is
the first free trade agreement that Canada has signed with an Asian
nation and was signed the same week as the final details of the
Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA)
are expected to be released. The agreement is comprehensive and, in
addition to dealing with tariff reduction, general rules are
implemented to reduce trade barriers and provide for national
The agreement, once fully implemented, will eliminate virtually
all tariffs on goods between Canada and South Korea. However,
before implementation, the agreement must be endorsed by the
Canadian parliament and some tariff reductions will be phased
There is a chapter dealing specifically with intellectual
property that is quite broad, confirming existing obligations, for
instance under the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In addition, there are
specific provisions dealing with the primary areas of intellectual
property (copyright, trademarks, patents) as well as provisions
dealing with enforcement and geographic indications.
It appears that Canada will be in compliance with almost all
intellectual property obligations under the CKFTA without making
amendments to its intellectual property statutes other than
amendments that are proposed in bills that have already been
passed, or that have been introduced and are pending in
Canada's parliament. For instance, provisions dealing with
enforcement requirements should be met by Canada's existing
regime as proposed to be amended by Bill C-8, the Combatting
Counterfeit Products Act, which is currently awaiting third
reading in parliament. Once passed, that bill will amend provisions
of the Trademarks Act and Copyright Act dealing
with border, civil and criminal remedies in a manner that should
meet the CKFTA enforcement requirements.
The one area where there may be a requirement for legislative
change is in respect of protection of geographic indications.
However, the requirements under the CKFTA are very narrow since
they only deal with two Canadian geographic indications (Canadian
whiskey and Canadian rye whiskey) and four South Korean
geographical indications (Korean red ginseng, Korean white ginseng,
Korean fresh ginseng and Icheon rice).
It is expected that legislation ratifying the CKFTA will be
introduced in parliament very soon and hopefully reductions in
tariffs and barriers to trade between the two countries will
For further information, please contact us.
The preceding is intended as a timely update on Canadian
intellectual property and technology law. The content is
informational only and does not constitute legal or professional
advice. To obtain such advice, please communicate with our offices
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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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