The Federal Budget, tabled in the House of Commons
on April 21, 2015, proposes significant changes to various aspects
of Canada's IP system.
The Government proposes to amend the Patent Act, the
Trademarks Act and the Industrial Design Act, to
provide clients with a statutory privilege for confidential
communications with their IP agents. Measures of this type have
been enacted in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the
United Kingdom, France and Sweden. The proposed regulations
for the Unified Patent Court to be established for the European
Union include similar protection. This proposal in the Budget is a
welcome initiative that would bring Canada's IP laws into line
with international trends to provide legislated protection for
client/agent communications in the IP field.
Historically, there has been limited flexibility in Canada's
IP laws to address force majeure events, and rights could
be lost if a deadline were to be missed due to a power outage,
flood, ice storm, or the like. Significant recent events include
the eastern Ontario and western Quebec ice storm of 1998, the 2003
blackout affecting much of northeastern North America and the
Calgary flood of 2013.
The Government proposes amendments to provide the Canadian
Intellectual Property Office with the ability to extend key
deadlines in cases of force majeure events. The current
Patent Act and Trademarks Act permit the Minister
to declare the Office "closed for business." The Budget
proposal to allow deadlines to be extended has advantages, as it
may permit the Office to remain open to receive new filings and
grant filing dates, yet still allow those affected by a force
majeure event to benefit from a needed extension to meet an
Amendments to the Copyright Act are proposed in order
to implement and accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate
Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually
Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled,and to extend the term of
protection of sound recordings and performances from 50 to 70 years
following the first release of the sound recording.
The proposals will not become law until a Bill is introduced in
Parliament, and it is read, debated and ultimately receives Royal
Assent. Enactment of the proposals potentially could occur very
quickly, if they are included in the Budget Implementation
Act, an omnibus Bill that typically promptly follows and
implements provisions of the Budget.
For further information regarding the proposed changes to
Canada's IP laws, 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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