To tackle issues like international treaties, global technological advancement and needs for public access, the Canadian intellectual property regime came out with six different federal statutes. Organisations carrying out business in Canada should be familiar with the requirements of the legislation.
Federal legislation governing IP in Canada
The Intellectual Property (IP) is governed under federal legislation that comprises of six pieces. These include:
1. The Patent Act;
2. The Trade-marks Act;
3. The Copyright Act;
4. The Industrial Design Act;
5. The Integrated Circuit Topography Act;
6. The Plant Breeders’ Rights Act.
The first five Acts are administered by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). The Copyrights Act is administered by the CIPO and the Department of Canadian Heritage for the Copyright Act. A database that comprises of registered patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies is also maintained by the CIPO. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency bears the responsibility of administering the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act. This act is applied to plants of new varieties.
The Patent Act
Under the Patent Act, a Canadian Patent gives the right to the inventor to exclude other people from selling or making use of the invention for a duration of 20 years from the date of filing. Any kind of term extensions are not available in Canada. As of October 1, 1989, patents in Canada are granted to inventors who were quick to register the patent application and not to the person who was first to invent. This implies that, filing a patent application, if you have invented something at the very earliest is essential.
In case of infringement, the superior court of any province can be approached to commence action. Such cases are generally handled by the federal court.
Any word, symbol or design which allows a business or an individual to create a distinguished identity from others in the market is known as Trademarks (or a combination of these). This is used to distinguish the wares or services of a person or organization from those of others in the marketplace. After filing for the trademark, it can be generally obtained within 20 to 24 months. Once the trademark is filed, the registrant is granted exclusive rights to use the trademark for a period of 15 years. If a business of foreign origin sets up a business in Canada, then it is important for that business to protect the trademarks in Canada. Businesses, that consider starting in Canada, should take steps to protect their trademarks in Canada before actually starting to sell products or perform services here. Trademark registration can also help companies obtain a .ca domain name. Certain presence in Canada is required to obtain .ca domain name registration.
All original work like literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works, including computer programs, is supported and protected by the Canadian Copyright act (the author of the work should be Canadian). A Copyright Act gives the author the sole right to produce or reproduce a work in whatever form, or a substantial part of it in any form. Copyright protection generally lasts for the life of the author and extra 50 years. But, following on US footpaths, the Canadian government is planning to change it and extend to 70 years.
Industrial Design Act
The Industrial Design Act includes shapes of ornaments or configuration of industrial objects registered under the Act. The Industrial Design Act offers patent like protection for a duration of five years. It can be renewed for one another five-year period. When registering under the Industrial Design Act, the application must be filed within a year of its first publication.
Integrated Circuit Act
The Integrated Circuits Topography Act of Canada gives exclusive design rights for the design or “topography” of integrated circuits. The law grants an exclusive right of 10 years to the creator of the topography. Within these 10 years, the creator of the topography can reproduce the topography, manufacture the integrated circuit, which can incorporate the topography and import or commercially exploit the topography or integrated circuit incorporated in it. It is lawful to reverse engineer a topography that is registered, if the purpose of reverse engineering is analysis, evaluation, research or teaching.
Canada provides different and competent ways to protect your intellectual property and reap the benefits of it. If you have an IP that’s being violated then, get in touch with Prowse Chowne. Our lawyers are well versed with all facets of the Canadian IP act and will provide you with apt solutions.