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Archive for the ‘Intellectual Property’ Columns

Access to Server Data for Foreign Criminal Investigative Purposes

The impacts of privacy sensitivities continue to expand and affect all manner of technology and other transactions transactions. 

Canada and the United States have a long healthy and constructive relationship in providing assistance to the law enforcement agencies of each country in the investigation of cross boarder criminal activity. Canada has, with the United States and with other countries a series of mutual cooperation arrangements (including Mutual Law Assistance Treaties or MLATs) in place between Canadian and U.S. law enforcement by which criminal and terrorist conduct can be investigated and relevant information exchanged.

Such international cooperation is routine and rarely . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

A Rare Example Perhaps of “More Than Mere Exercise of Patent Rights” – a Recent Competition Bureau Inquiry Into Pharmaceutical “Product Hopping”

There is an obvious inherent tension between competition principles and intellectual property (“IP”), including patents. A recent Competition Bureau inquiry into alleged market manipulation by Alcon provides a good illustration of how these principles can intersect.

By their very nature patents may be considered exclusionary and anti-competitive. The Competition Act (s. 32) specifically empowers the court to prevent use of a patent only if it “unduly” lessens competition. Otherwise there must be “something more” than the mere exercise of patent rights to be anti-competitive. The Competition Bureau has provided enforcement guidelines to evaluate when IP rights may be used in . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Timing Is Crucial in CIRA Domain Name Disputes

CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, manages the registration of domain names ending in “ca”. It has created a set of rules and procedures, called the Canadian Dispute Resolution Process (or CDRP), for resolving some of the disputes that arise over domain names, particularly cybersquatting. Everyone who registers a dot-CA domain name agrees to abide by CIRA’s rules and procedures.

In a couple of recent dot-CA domain name disputes, the outcome has turned on the timing of the formation of the party complaining about a domain name. It is important that before bringing a domain name dispute that you investigate . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

A Charter Right to Search Google™?

The Internet has transformed society in so many ways. Even the ways we find information and the sources we rely upon have been fundamentally transformed. It appears our legal systems need to adapt to this new reality.

In R. v. McKay, 2013 ABPC 13 (CanLII) the Alberta Provincial Court had the occasion to consider these issues in the context of a charge under the Criminal Code. The accused had been pulled over, a breathalyzer was applied and then he was taken to the police station. At the police station he was given a toll free number, to the Yellow . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Past Can Come Back to Haunt You: The Danger of Backdated Copyright Assignments

Copyright assignments are often back-dated or retroactive. A Federal Court decision – Harmony Consulting Ltd. V. G.A. Foss Transport Ltd., 2011 FC 340, aff’d 2012 FCA 226 – demonstrates the dangers of such assignments, and two (2) questions anyone relying on such an assignment should ask.
Posted in: Intellectual Property

Is It Easier to Invalidate a Patent in Canada? Eli Lilly Thinks So and Wants It to Stop

The Canadian generic pharmaceutical industry has recently been successful in invalidating several brand name drug patents on the basis of “The Promise” doctrine. Eli Lilly would like to put an end to this, using Canada’s international treaty obligations under NAFTA.

Can you see the difference?

In the mid 2000s one could start to see Canadian patent cases “turning” somewhat. Before this, the general sense was that a mere scintilla of utility was enough to obtain a patent. However, if the patentee made an explicit and unequivocal “Promise” of a certain use or result, recent cases have held the patentee to . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Federal Court Costs

The Federal Court, where most intellectual property litigation takes place has a system for determining costs that differs in many respects from that of the Ontario Court system.

Costs in the Federal Court are generally determined based on a number of discretionary factors, set out in Rule 400 of the Federal Courts Rules, and a table of fixed amounts for steps in the litigation. Judges and Prothonotaries can also order costs on a lump sum basis.

The Tariff

Unlike in the Ontario Courts, the Federal Court Rules include a tariff, Tariff B, which allocates a range of ‘units’ for . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Industrial Designs Enforcement Seen Through Double Glasses

Industrial design protection is an often overlooked form of protection that is a poor cousin of Copyright. For historical reasons Canadian law prejudices against certain authors who create designs which can be applied to useful articles. By virtue of Section 64(2) of the Copyright Act, RSC 1985, c C-42, if more than 50 copies of the articles are made by or at the direction of the owner of the copyright in the design then substantial copyright and moral rights protection is lost. Protection may be available under the Industrial Design Act, RSC 1985, c I-9 (IDA), a registry . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Supreme Court of Canada VIAGRA Case: 5 Messages Technology Businesses Should Receive

This column was written by Dominique T. Hussey, L.E. Trent Horne and Edward (Ted) Yoo

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada has provided valuable guidance to patent agents and litigators as to how Canadian patents will be read and enforced (Teva Canada Limited v Pfizer Canada Inc, 2012 SCC 60).

The subject matter of the patent needs no introduction. Sildenafil is the active ingredient in VIAGRA, one of the world’s best known pharmaceutical products. There is no mystery or uncertainty as to the reason VIAGRA is prescribed.

Pfizer’s patent, however, was not as . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The SCC Sanofi Obviousness Test – Have the Courts Gone Wrong With the Inventive Concept?

As the Federal Court continues to interpret and apply the 2008 Sanofi SCC obviousness test (Apotex Inc. v. Sanofi-Synthelabo Canada Inc., 2008 SCC 61 (“Sanofi”)), one important step – defining the “inventive concept” – has not always been defined consistently. Inventive concept appears to have taken predominance over claim construction. Inventive concept is a pivotal issue for the court. It sets the bar for exactly what has to be obvious to try – ie. “self-evident” to work. As would be expected, a more complex/advanced inventive concept means an invention is more difficult to invalidate for obviousness. Equally, a . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Patent and Trade-Mark Agent Requirements

New requirements are coming for lawyers wanting to become patent and trademark agents. Registered patent and trademark agents are able to represent applicants before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Proposed amendments to the governing regulations were recently published in the Canada Gazette (“Rules Amending the Patent Rules”, “Regulations Amending the Trade-marks Regulations”) for comment. I expect the final amendments to be very similar to these proposed changes and will likely come into force in the next several months. Earlier versions of these changes were published by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) several years ago.

Many of . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

The Importance of Product Specificity in the Listing Patents

The Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations (SOR/93-133) provides the framework for most of Canada’s patent litigation. The Patent Act and the PM (NOC) Regulations seek to balance “effective patent enforcement” over new and innovative drugs with the “timely market entry” of lower priced generic versions once the patents have expired. The PM (NOC) Regulations provide innovators of pharmaceutical patents (‘innovator’) with an ability to list their patents on a Patent List. A generic drug maker who wishes to obtain consent from Health Canada to market a drug based on the same active ingredient (called a Notice of Compliance or . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property