The Government of Canada marked World IP Day on April 26, 2018 by announcing its first ever National IP Strategy. The Strategy will see the Government invest $85.3 million over 5 years to help Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators understand, protect and access intellectual property (IP). The Government realizes that IP (including patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, plant breeders’ rights, geographical indications and trade secrets) is a valuable business asset that can provide important advantages over competitors.
One part of the Strategy involves increasing IP awareness and education by providing and funding learning tools and resources, such as IP legal clinics. The Government also aims to support the participation of less-represented groups in IP, such as women and Indigenous persons.
The IP Strategy also proposes a number of legislative changes, including for patents:
- setting minimum requirements for patent demand letters alleging infringement to discourage deceptive and/or vague letters from being sent;
- affirming that there is no infringement when conducting experiments that relate to a patented invention; and
- clarifying that when an owner of a standard essential patent (SEP) makes a voluntary licensing commitment to incentivize a standard-setting organization to incorporate its patented technology as part of a standard, this commitment holds even if the patent owner changes. A SEP covers a technology that must be used to comply with a technical standard, for example 3G or 4G systems used in broadband cellular network technology.
As for trademarks, legislation is to be implemented to prevent “trademark squatting”, a dubious practice whereby trademark owners do not use their trademarks but rather attempt to extract licences from businesses seeking to use those marks.
On the copyright side, there will be a prohibition on settlement demands from the copyright Notice and Notice regime to prevent users from sending threatening demands for settlement payments.
The governance of IP agents will be improved by creating a College of Patent and Trademark Agents. This is something for which the IP profession has been lobbying for many years.
The outline of the National IP Strategy is available here: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/108.nsf/eng/home.
Please contact us for further information or if you have any questions.