Budget Implementation Act, 2018: Canada

On 13th December, the Canadian government gave assent to the BUDGET IMPLEMENTATION ACT, 2018 to address various productive changes in Canadian Intellectual property laws.  Modifications in IP laws were made to uplift the economy of Canada through innovative ideas and higher investments.  The act majorly focuses on removing the loopholes in the current IPR structure of the country and to meet the professional and ethical standards.

The scope of patent protection in Canada is now widened. Now in Canada, Histories of prosecution is admissible as evidence to deal with patent claims. Prior use right of a business is also protected against an application of patent that covers its existing operation. An amendment to clarify that it is not against the law to conduct research on the subject matter of patent grant is made in a new law. Another change introduced regarding patent laws is to demoralize deceptive or vague demand letters. In the case of deceptive/vague demand letters, an action can be taken in Canadian courts to seek damages. The act of 2018 also provides for accomplishing licensing commitments by subsequent owners of a standard-essential patent made previously by the owners of the same patent. To ensure the consistency of intellectual property licenses, the revocation of IP licenses by licensees unilaterally is eliminated.

Functional changes in trademark laws are also acknowledged in the budget implementation act, 2018. Under the Trademarks act, few modifications are done to crystallize the concept of filing dates, renewal fees, and divisional applications. To dismiss the ill use of the trademark system, new grounds for opposing and invalidating registration done in bad faith are recognized in the new regime. Registrar has the power to withdraw the official marks owned by enterprises that are non-existing from the database in order to remove obstacles in trademark registration.  Also, the registrar is empowered to award costs to the applicant for any abusive act during the proceedings.  

A legislative amendment to improve copyright laws is another key feature of the 2018 act. To make the processing of copyright Board more effective and efficient as per the newly framed provisions, the decision making pattern would be indicated in the new regime, and case management would be more formalized. To facilitate the board with timelines, tariffs would be filed earlier and be established for longer terms. Publication & opposition requirements would be updated timely. Power to the governor in council is granted to make decision-making deadlines. For bringing efficiency, users would be allowed to enter into direct agreements and get support from the board.

In common terms, to develop the whole regime of IPR in the country and to meet the professional and ethical standards it is required to look over the condition of IP agents.  Under the governance framework for IP agents, a college of patent and trademark agents would be formed. And, further, it would form a perfect process and code of conduct for the agents. Members of the business and the public would be governing the college under the enactment.  In order to ensure the equality measures between the privileges conferred to the agent and the client, an exception would be set out concerning agent-client privileged information in the ACCESS OF INFORMATION ACT and PRIVACY ACT respectively.

Therefore, the Canadian parliament made several changes in the current IPR strategy of the country for favorable outcomes. Adjustments are made in every segment of Intellectual property rights, be it trademark laws, patent laws, or copyrights laws. This is to be considered as an effort of the Canadian government to strengthen the IPR regime of the nation. However, every modification needs to be implemented with utmost care so as to obtain the desired result.

Author: Anushka Dubey, Legal Intern at Global Patent Filing. In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at support@globalpatentfiling.com.

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