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Archive for the ‘Intellectual Property’ Columns

Start of the Electronic Age?

In late January, the Federal Courts Rules were amended to permit the maintenance of court files in electronic form. The changes to the Rules, for the first time, removed the requirement that the official court docket for a proceeding be kept in “paper”. These changes open the door to improved electronic service and filing of court documents in the Federal Court.

Justice Brown’s comments regarding the Ontario Court, seem applicable, “Consign our paper-based document management system to the scrap heap of history and equip this Court with a modern, electronic document system.”

The changes to the Federal Court Rules . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Not Just the Best Policy, but Now the Law: The Impact of the Duty of Honest Contractual Performance on Intellectual Property License Agreements

The Supreme Court of Canada recently decided a contractual dispute, Bhasin v. Hrynew, involving businesses selling educational savings plans (ESPs). In doing so, the Court recognized a duty of honest contractual performance. While the Bhasin decision did not concern intellectual property, the Court’s ruling has implications for all contracts, including intellectual property (IP) licensing agreements.

Previously, Canadian law was divided as to whether parties to a contract were required to discharge their contractual obligations honestly or whether the duty of good faith only applied to specific types of contracts, e.g. employment agreements. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Bhasin recognizes . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Overhaul of Intellectual Property Legislation

In a series of initiatives, legislation addressing intellectual property is being amended. The Patent Act, the Trade-marks Act, the Copyright Act, the Industrial Design Act and the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act have been amended or are about to be amended. While most of the changes are procedural rather than substantive, the changes will likely have a lasting effect on Canada’s role in the international intellectual property system.

Many of the changes effect the filing requirements in Canada to standardize or integrate the process with international systems. For example, for trademarks, the Madrid Protocol allows an international trademark . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Who Is the Inventor?

Enthusiastic entrepreneurs consult with patent agents about the protection of their new product. Often a successful team for an entrepreneurial business includes someone with technical skills, someone with marketing skills, someone providing business direction as well, of course, with one of more persons providing financial backing. Often all want to be named as inventors on a patent application. A key question which comes up is to identify who are the inventors.

That question was answered by the Federal Court in Drexan Energy Systems Inc. v. Canada (Commissioner of Patents) 2014 FC 887, a case where four people worked together on . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Re-Litigation by a Patentee With a Different Party – Has the Federal Court Been Consistent in Its Approach?

Over the past few years the pharmaceutical marketplace has seen an increase in patent “re-litigation” (where a patentee is involved in a second case against another generic). Following the Federal Court of Appeal’s warning to losing brands that they must put their best foot forward in case1[1], and at the same time, arguably permissive attitude regarding new generics in case2, the Federal Court continues to grapple with how to fairly deal with re-litigation. One notable hurdle is the unusual procedural regime of the Notice of Compliance (“NOC”) Regulations. NOC proceedings are designed to result in merely preliminary type . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Missing or Wrong Inventors?

Occasionally, patent applications are filed or issued identifying the wrong inventors, or the allegedly wrong inventors. This can arise due to inadvertence at the time of filing or from disputes between inventors, claimed inventors and owners of the intellectual property.

All patent applications must identify the inventor or inventors of the invention being claimed. This is typically done in the petition for the patent or equivalent under the international Patent Cooperation Treaty rules at the time of filing.

The identity of the inventors is important because ownership of the patent flows from the inventors, usually through an employment arrangement or . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Guidance on Neighbouring Rights

Neighbouring rights rarely get much judicial review so the case of Re: Sound v. Fitness Industry Council of Canada 2014 FCA 48 gives some insight as to this regime.

Neighbouring rights[1], rights near to copyright, in this context are rights to “equitable remuneration” in published sound recordings (performers and makers) for the performance in public or the communication to the public by telecommunication in Canada of their recordings under Section 19 of the Copyright Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-42. Re:Sound is a not-for-profit collective society authorized under the Act to administer the performance rights of performers and . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

3D Printing and Intellectual Property

Last month, Home Depot announced they would start selling 3D printers in some of their stores. This seems like the next step in the consumerization of technology that began as exclusively for high end users such as automotive manufacturers and architects but is now becoming useable for almost anyone. Even the Toronto Public Library has 3D printers “even for beginners to use.” What effect will the increasing use of 3D printing technology by consumers have on intellectual property and what effect will intellectual property have on the technology?

3D printing is generally a term for additive printing where material is . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

World Wide Injunction Orders Editing of Google Search Results

What is a Court to do when faced with repeated breaches of Court orders by a virtual entity? In the case, Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, 2014 BCSC 1063, the decision of the BC Supreme Court was to order an innocent third party, Google Inc., to remove the wrongdoer’s website from further search results – anywhere.

The case has far reaching implications on the ability to enforce injunctions on wrongdoers in cyberspace, on the role of innocent third parties such as Google, and on the possibility of the Court process being used as an avenue for censorship. The decision has . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

An Exciting Time in Canadian Competition Bureau Policy – Substantive Guidance on Reverse Payment Patent Settlement Agreements May Be Imminent?

As part of the Canadian Competition Bureau’s revisions to its IP Enforcement Guidelines, some stakeholders have requested guidance on “new” issues of concern in the Competition Law area – including reverse payment patent settlement agreements. Prior to publication of the first Draft Update of the Guidelines (“Phase 1 Update”)[1], the Bureau held a Workshop to consider issues regarding competition and the pharmaceutical industry[2]. Having regard to the high cost of pharmaceuticals ($34.5 billion in 2013), and the recent decisions of the US Supreme Court and European Commission finding that reverse payments are “valid targets for antitrust . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Cases in the Federal Court: The Judicial Officers

The Federal Court has a primary role in hearing intellectual property proceedings in Canada (See Where Should You Launch Your Intellectual Property Case?). Changes to the composition of the Federal Court, including the number of judges and prothonotaries, have a significant effect on the enforcement of intellectual property in Canada. Several changes are being made to the role of the prothonotaries as well new appointments for judges in the Federal Court.

These changes affect the Court’s ability to manage its workload. The Federal Court has a Practice Notice indicating that where possible, the Court will endeavour to have the . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Can Screamin’ Eagles Co-Exist?

In Canada parties should understand that rights in marks can arise through use of the mark in commerce even without registration. This complicates clearance of marks and is a reason for doing clearance searches to identify any prior users before the adoption of a mark.

What happens when a user of a mark for one category of goods begins to use that mark in another category of goods – in which a second party has a registered mark. Can those uses survive, continue and co-exist when such conduct occurs over a long period of time?

Canada’s Federal Court addressed this . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property