Canadian Update on International IP Treaties


Earlier this week, the government introduced an unprecedented five international intellectual property treaties in the House of Commons on the same day. The five tabled treaties, introduced for ratification and implementation, are:

  • the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks,
  • the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks,
  • the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks,
  • the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, and
  • the Patent Law Treaty.

If you follow these sorts of things - and who doesn’t? - you will know that these treaties have been the subject of debate in Canada for years. For example, here is a 2001 article reviewing the merits of the Madrid Protocol. Why does the government have a sudden interest in pushing these treaties forward now? It’s because the government is in the process of negotiating a Canada-EU free trade deal  as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. According to reports, implementation of these legal reforms is a condition for Canada to finalize treaty negotiations with other countries.

Implementation of all these treaties will result in so many interconnecting changes to Canadian IP law that it will take some time to sort out how this impacts Canadian business in a practical sense. Stay tuned for further updates and guidance on these developments.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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