Our professionals regularly publish on new developments in intellectual property law. Our Editor is: Pat Cotter.

Will Recent IP Developments Remove Canada From US Trade Watch List?

Several months ago the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) published the 2017 Special 301 Report. This report identified trade barriers and includes a Watch List of countries where IP concerns exist.  As in 2016, Canada remains on the Watch List. The Office of the USTR indicated that U.S. innovators face challenges “including restrictive patentability criteria” in Canada and uncertainties surrounding the “promise doctrine.”  The Office of the USTR also highlighted the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) upcoming opportunity to clarify this doctrine through case law.

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Is it Time to Dispense with Trademark Classification Systems?

Toni Polson Ashton and Andrew Ngo

Many countries in the world are conditioned to apply class designations for goods and services in trademark applications. Canada is scheduled to follow suit when it accedes to the Singapore Treaty and the Madrid Protocol. Is this a good thing or not? Becoming part of an international filing procedure fits into the globalization process as Canada will become part of a larger network which may encourage regional or national Canadian businesses to expand beyond current borders. However, in joining a larger whole, one may be obligated to accept conditions unfavourable – one such condition arguably being the need for Canada to use the Nice Classification for goods and services.

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Canada Again on US Watch List for IP Issues – US Continues Call for Canada to Wall Off “In Transit” Counterfeits

Once again, Canada appears on the United States Trade Representative (USTR)’s Watch List in 2017.  The recently released 2017 Special 301 Report identifies several areas that the USTR views as deficiencies in Canada’s intellectual property protection and enforcement regimes that negatively affect US businesses.  As counterfeit and pirated products continue to be a growing problem for US businesses, one area of consistent concern is Canada’s enforcement regime against counterfeit and pirated goods entering the US through Canada.

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