On 30 October 2019, Bill C-43 – Economic Action Plan 2014, Act No. 2, came into force in Canada. This resulted in changes to Canada's Patent Act and Patent Rules. The reason for at least some of the changes is to align the legislation with the Patent Law Treaty which Canada has recently ratified.
Further, under the New Patent Rules (the "New Rules"), certain time periods during which steps must be taken during prosecution of patent applications have been changed, more particularly:
- national phase entry in Canada is still allowable up to 42 months from the priority date of the PCT application, but the applicant will have to submit a statement to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office ("CIPO") that failure to enter the national phase by the 30-month deadline was "unintentional";
- the time period to request examination is reduced from the previous five years to four years from the filing date, and no extension is available;
- the time period for responding to an examiner's requisition is reduced to four months from the date of the examiner's requisition, but a two-month extension is available, provided that the extension is applied for during the four-month period; and
- the time period allowed for the payment of the final fee is reduced to four months from the date of the notice of allowance, and no extension is available.
The New Rules make provision, in a very practical manner, for handling transitional cases.
For example, all responses which are due pursuant to requisitions sent before 30 October 2019 can still be responded to in accordance with the previously applicable time limits.
We are continuously monitoring the implementation of the above changes and, with the assistance of our Canadian associates, we are very well positioned to assist clients with the filing and prosecution of patent applications in Canada.
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.