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Archive for the ‘Intellectual Property’ Columns

First Canadian Antibody Decision of Federal Court Significant for What It Does Not Say

It has been 15 years since the last brand v brand challenge of a biologic patent in Canada. In 2000, Amgen’s recombinant EPO patent (for EPREX, which stimulates red blood cells to treat anaemia) was found valid and infringed by Hoffman’s RECORMON product.[1] In January 2014 the Federal Court once again upheld the validity of certain claims of Abbott’s psoriasis antibody patent that were challenged by Janssen[2].

The Abbott v Janssen decision (“Decision”) provides a somewhat typical patent validity analysis. Mr. Justice Hughes favoured certain Abbott experts who found that Abbott’s discovery of a “very sticky” antibody . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Defining Copyright Infringement

The Supreme Court recently addressed the approach to assessment of copyright infringement in the case of Cinar Corporation v. Robinson, 2013 SCC 73 (CanLII) and thereby provided some important guidance to courts facing similar difficult determinations. 

As a basic principle the public domain provides the rich soil from which new works can be created. The Court reaffirmed that the role of copyright provides “a balance between promoting the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of works of the arts and intellect and obtaining a just reward for the creator” and that copyright does not provide a monopoly over . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Where Should You Launch Your Intellectual Property Case?

When deciding, with your client, to bring an intellectual property lawsuit in Canada, one question that will need to be answered is what court should be used? In many instances, both the Federal Court and the provincial courts have concurrent jurisdiction but depending on the specific causes of action, your choice may be limited to one of the courts and other facts may influence your choice.


The provincial ‘superior’ courts have inherent jurisdiction over all causes of action that have not been explicitly provided elsewhere. The Federal Court, in contrast is purely a statutory creation (see the Federal Courts . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Don’t Ignore That Notice!

The case Medos Services Corporation v. Ridout and Maybee LLP 2013 FC 1006 is an example of what happens when the owner of a registered trade-mark ignores a Section 45 notice. 

As a basic premise a registered trade-mark must be used in order to maintain those rights and a procedure exists under Section 45 of the Trade-Marks Act to weed out dead wood from the Register. Upon receipt of such a notice the registered owner has 3 months to provide an affidavit or statutory declaration showing, with respect to each of the wares or services specified in the registration, whether . . . [more]

Posted in: Columns, Intellectual Property

Quebec Court Warns Against “Fishing Expeditions” – Denies U.S. Letters Rogatory (“LR”) Request in Contentious Omega-3 U.S. Patent Litigation

The Defendant in a US patent litigation matter (Aker Biomarine AS, (“Aker”)) recently fell short of meeting the threshold requirements for obtaining permission to conduct a deposition and obtain documents from third parties in Quebec (the University of Sherbrooke and a Quebec Research Center). The US Plaintiff/patentee Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. (“Neptune”) successfully opposed the overly broad Letters Rogatory Request. This recent case provides a clear illustration for US clients of what can easily go wrong when LR Requests are not initially vetted by Canadian counsel – before the US court issues the LR. In a broader context, this . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Punitive Damages and Patent Cases

The patent infringement action between Bell Helicopters and Eurocopter has been a topic of discussion among patent lawyers since the trial decision was released in January 2012. The Federal Court of Appeal recently dismissed the appeal and cross-appeal (Bell Helicopter Textron Canada Limitée v. Eurocopter, 2013 FCA 219) in a lengthy decision covering many hot topics in Canadian patent law.

While the decision has a number of interesting issues, including utility and sound prediction, I will focus on the award of punitive damages.

In general, punitive damages may be awarded when the defendant’s conduct is “in exceptional . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Interesting Example of the Long Shadow of the SCC’s Findings in a “Summary” NOC Case on the Court of Appeal’s Upholding of Sanofi’s Plavix Patent

The FCA has recently adopted an interventionist approach in the area of patent validity in Sanofi-Aventis v Apotex 2013 FCA 186 (“Sanofi 2013”). The FCA overturned the trial court’s findings that Sanofi’s clopidogrel patent was invalid for inutility and obviousness. First, the trial judge was found to have erred in law in his construction of the patent by “reading in” a Promise that the FCA says was not there. Secondly, the trial judge appears to have erred in failing to properly apply the facts to the Sanofi SCC legal test for obviousness, and asked the critical wrong question in determining . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Profits vs. Damages – Non-Infringing Alternatives

Only rarely do patent cases proceed to trial and even more rarely are contested judgments on remedies issued. A recent Federal Court decision on damages considered whether non-infringing alternatives to the defendant’s infringing activities should be considered.

In most patent cases, the quantification of damages are bifurcated, or deferred until after a trial decision on validity and infringement. Only if the patent is found valid and infringed, will the remedies need to be considered. Unfortunately, for those interested in following decisions on patent remedies, in most cases the patents are found invalid, not infringed or a settlement is reached prior . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Privacy of Employee Information in Employer’s IT Tools: BC Appeals Court Applies Cole

The issue of the degree of protection for the privacy for personal information of an employee stored on devices (usually information technology tools such as laptops, smart phones, etc.) of the employer has been considered by the Courts. The Supreme Court in R. v. Cole[i] addressed such a case. In R. v. McNeice[ii], the British Columbia Court of Appeals had the occasion to add their own thoughts in a similar case in which they applied the Cole principles. McNeice further illuminates the considerations in such cases.

It is noteworthy that the examination of the protection for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Novartis Can “Fix” the Sufficiency of Its Patent 10 Years After Filing

A recent decision of the Federal Court in Novartis v Teva 2013 FC 283 (“Novartis”) [under appeal A-123-13] has established that the relevant date for patent sufficiency is not until the publication date. Novartis may highlight an inconsistency in validity analysis. In some ways the notional “person skilled in the art” (who by definition is not inventive) is expected to know more, and earlier, than the inventors themselves (who are obviously inventive).

Narrowing of claims to one compound renders patent sufficient

In Novartis, Mr. Justice Hughes held that Novartis’ compound patent (CA 1,338,937[i]) was sufficient . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Savour the Flavor of Victory: FLAVOR SAVER Decision Confirms Trade-Mark Use When Flyers Advertising Goods Are Used in Online Ordering

The Internet has changed how distributors and consumers purchase goods, and those who purchase goods for multi-level marketing from companies such as Tupperware are no exception. A recent decision Federal Court decision involving the manufacturer of Tupperware, Dart Industries Inc. v. Baker & McKenzie LLP, considered whether trade-mark use occurred when goods are purchased online using flyers. The Dart decision also provides important lessons on preparing trade-mark use evidence, especially from goods and services are purchased online.


Dart owns Canadian trade-mark registration No. TMA145,567 FLAVOR SAVER for plastic household containers and lids. Baker& McKenzie initiated proceedings under section . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property

Patent Trolls in Canada?

Recently, there has been a renewed discussion about Patent Assertion Entities, also known as non-practicing entitles (NPEs), or colloquially, patent trolls. In early June, President Obama announced new initiatives to combat what he called, Patent Assertion Entities, which “don’t actually produce anything themselves,” and instead develop a business model “to essentially leverage and hijack somebody else’s idea and see if they can extort some money out of them.”

The U.S. president made a number of recommendations to congress for legislative changes and announced executive actions to address these Patent Assertion Entities. The recommendations included legislative changes to permit judges to . . . [more]

Posted in: Intellectual Property