Everything You Need To Know About Amendments To Canada’s IP Laws

Canadian Intellectual Property Law has recently undergone an overhaul. Canada’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister unveiled the government’s long-awaited IP strategy that has brought to light numerous changes to the current law designed to allow Canadian’s to benefit from a number of international treaties and correct shortcomings of the old law.

The main focus of this article is to discuss Canada’s new IP strategy and how it has altered the intellectual property law in Canada.

Shortened Renewal Period

Presently, the renewal period for trademark registration is 15 years. The revisions will eventually reduce it to 10 years. Once the amendments come into force, the renewal period for registrations issued thereafter will be 10 years. To add to that, the renewal request will only be accepted within 6 months prior to and after the renewal deadline. For existing registrations, the term will remain 15 years until the next renewal deadline.

Obligation of the Nice Classification

The Nice Classification is an international classification system used to classify goods and services for trademark registration. At this moment, complying with the Nice Classification is not mandatory. The new amendments will require that registration seekers file an application that correctly classifies their goods and services into appropriate classes and describes them in ordinary commercial terms. The class system may allow for some broader protection as similar marks may not be eligible for protection within the same classes. Specific claims and a fair level of protection are expected after Nice Classification is mandated. To add to that, applicants will also be charged per class of goods and services claimed as opposed to a single fixed rate regardless of the goods/services included in the application.

Implementation of the Certificate of Supplementary Protection Regime

One of the key changes brought about by the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) Implementation Act was to introduce a framework for issuing and administering the Certificate of Supplementary Protection (CSP). This was done to regulate certain human and veterinary drugs. Surprisingly, this has an effect on IP laws as well. With the implementation of a CSP system there would be a sense of harmony in the Canadian and European patent regimes. The new CSP system will provide an additional period of patent-like protection for patentees after their date of expiration.

Overhaul of the Patented Medicines Regulation

Recently, Canada amended its Patented Medicines Notice of Compliance Regulations (PMNOC). These regulations create a patent linkage regime, tying regulatory approval of generic medicines to the protection of patent rights. The previous PMNOC Regulations enabled a summary legal proceedings process that allowed patent holders to commence legal proceedings for an order prohibiting the granting of regulatory approval for a generic version of the patented medicine. While this process was intended to balance patent protection with timely access to generic medicines, there were a number of concerns with the summary proceedings process, including concerns that the process did not allow for full consideration of patent issues, that the lack of ability of patent holders to appeal under the PMNOC Regulations led to the commencement of further litigation under the Patent Act, and concerns regarding lack of legal certainty prior to generic market entry.

Do you wish to learn more about the intellectual property law amendments? Are you seeking advice for a sound IP strategy? If so, connect with our team at Prowse Chowne.