Canada: Un récit édifiant - Université de l'Alberta c. Canada (Procureur général), 2018 CAF 36

Autrefois, le demandeur de brevet canadien qui n'en n'était pas l'inventeur devait enregistrer une cession ou d'autres éléments de preuve pour démontrer que ses droits tiraient leur origine de l'invention de l'inventeur. Désormais, il n'a qu'à présenter une déclaration non signée affirmant qu'il est le représentant légal de l'inventeur. La procédure a été simplifiée à tel point que l'on pouvait s'attendre à ce que tout se passe toujours bien. Plus tôt cette année, la Cour d'appel fédérale a rendu une décision démontrant que, malheureusement, les choses peuvent mal tourner.

La Cour fédérale a été saisie de l'affaire par l'Université de l'Alberta, qui demandait le contrôle judiciaire de certaines actions posées par l'Office de la propriété intellectuelle du Canada (OPIC) à l'égard d'une demande de brevet dans laquelle l'Université avait acquis un intérêt. Les droits des demandeurs originaux dans l'invention tiraient leur origine des inventeurs nommés. Cependant, les demandeurs n'ont pas présenté de déclaration affirmant qu'ils étaient les représentants légaux des inventeurs comme l'exige l'alinéa 37(2)a) des Règles sur les brevets.

Conformément à la Règle 37(4), le commissaire aux brevets a envoyé aux demandeurs un avis exigeant qu'ils se conforment à la Règle 37(2)a) dans les douze mois suivant la date de dépôt. La lettre indiquait que le défaut de se conformer entraînerait l'abandon de la demande en vertu de l'article 73 de la Loi sur les brevets. (La règle 97 énonce que la demande est considérée comme abandonnée si le demandeur omet de répondre de bonne foi à toute exigence du commissaire visée aux Règles 23, 25, 37 ou 94).

Les demandeurs n'ont pas répondu à l'avis selon la Règle 37(4), et le commissaire leur a fait parvenir un avis d'abandon. L'avis expliquait que la demande pouvait être rétablie en vertu du paragraphe 73(3) de la Loi si les demandeurs payaient les frais de rétablissement et corrigeaient l'erreur dans les douze mois suivant l'abandon.

Au cours de la période de rétablissement de douze mois, l'un des demandeurs originaux a cédé ses droits dans la demande à l'Université de l'Alberta.

La période de rétablissement est venue à expiration sans que des mesures aient été prises en vue du rétablissement. L'OPIC a donc inscrit, dans ses registres, que la demande était « inactive ». Il a fallu presque un an pour que l'Université prenne finalement connaissance de l'état de la demande. L'Université et son co-demandeur ont rapidement demandé à l'OPIC de rectifier les choses, mais l'OPIC a répliqué qu'il ne pouvait réactiver la demande de brevet car la période de rétablissement était venue à échéance.

Les demandeurs se sont donc tournés vers la Cour fédérale en vue d'un contrôle judiciaire. La Cour fédérale a rejeté la demande. Elle a statué que le délai de 30 jours pour obtenir un contrôle judiciaire à l'égard de l'avis du commissaire en vertu de la Loi sur les Cours fédérales était expiré depuis longtemps, et a en outre confirmé la position de l'OPIC selon laquelle la Loi sur les brevets ne permet pas le rétablissement lorsqu'une demande de brevet est inactive.

En appel devant la Cour d'appel fédérale, deux questions ont été présentées :

  1. La Cour fédérale a-t-elle erré en calculant le délai de 30 jours pour le contrôle judiciaire à compter de la délivrance de l'avis par le commissaire (plutôt qu'à compter du refus le plus récent du commissaire de réactiver la demande inactive)?
  2. Le commissaire a-t-il erré en refusant de réactiver la demande de brevet?

En ce qui concerne la première question, la Cour d'appel n'était pas d'accord avec la position du tribunal inférieur, selon laquelle la période de 30 jours en vue du contrôle judiciaire avait commencé à s'écouler dès l'avis en vertu de la Règle 37(4). Cependant, cette conclusion qu'il y avait eu erreur n'a pas aidé les appelants. La Cour d'appel a statué que la délivrance de l'avis était une exigence des Règles qui ne résultait pas d'une décision discrétionnaire du commissaire. Par conséquent, elle n'était pas soumise au contrôle judiciaire. La Cour d'appel a également rejeté la notion selon laquelle soit la délivrance de l'avis d'abandon, soit l'abandon lui-même pouvaient faire l'objet d'un contrôle judiciaire.

En ce qui concerne la deuxième question, la Cour d'appel était d'accord avec le tribunal inférieur et a statué que le commissaire n'avait pas erré en refusant de rétablir la demande inactive, car il n'existe pas de mécanisme en vertu de la Loi sur les brevets ou des Règles sur les brevets qui permettrait au commissaire de réactiver une demande après qu'elle ait été abandonnée et que la période de rétablissement ait expirée.

Il est prévu qu'en 2019, des modifications importantes à la Loi sur les brevets du Canada et aux Règles sur les brevets entrent en vigueur, y compris des modifications aux dispositions liées à l'abandon et au rétablissement. Cliquez ici pour consultez notre rapport (en anglais seulement).

Il est peu probable que les modifications proposées auraient aidé les appelants dans le cas présent.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Industry
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions