Judicial Appointments

George R. Locke, an IP lawyer with Norton Rose Fulbright in Montréal, René Leblanc, a lawyer with the Department of Justice Canada, and Martine St-Louis, a lawyer with McCarthy Tétrault in Montréal were appointed today to the Federal Court. Justice Boivin was elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal. Appointments were also made to the Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Tax courts.

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Significant Changes to Trade-marks Act introduced by Budget Bill C-31

Last week, the federal government introduced significant changes to the Trade-marks Act by tabling the omnibus budget bill, Bill C-31, the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 on March 28, 2014. The “monster” Bill makes changes to nearly forty different pieces of legislation, and is designed to enact measures in last month’s federal budget. The trademark amendments will allow Canada to meet its international treaty obligations (including the Nice Agreement, Singapore Treaty, and the Madrid Protocol). According to the government summary, the proposed changes make the Trade-marks Act consistent with the Singapore Treaty, add authority to carry the Madrid Protocol into effect, and simplify the trademark application filing requirements.

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Copyright Treaties

Last week the government authorized the Department of Foreign Affairs to take the actions necessary to bring into force for Canada, the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and the World Intellectual Property Organization Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The coming into force of the treaties will affect the entry into force of several sections of the Copyright Modernization Act from 2012.

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Equitable Remuneration

A proposed “Statement” limiting the scope of equitable remuneration under s.19 of the Copyright Act for countries that do not offer a reciprocal right, was published in the Canada Gazette. This will update a similar statement from 1999 for changes to domestic laws and countries which have acceded to the Rome Convention.

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Prothonotaries

The Federal Government has responded to the recommendations of the special advisor on Prothonotary compensation, including with a proposal to have Prothonotary compensation managed under the Judges Act.

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Experimental Testing

The Federal Court has published a Notice to the Profession on experimental testing in patent infringement and validity actions. It requires that notice be provided at least two months prior to the service of expert reports and unless notice is provided, the party shall not lead evidence at trial as to the experiments except with leave of the Court.

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Motion Practice in Ontario Court

The Ontario Court issued practice notices regarding motion practice last fall that were recently published online. The first requires, among other things, the moving party to file a Notice of Motion within 10 days after the motion date is requisitioned. The second is an announcement that additional resources are being allocated to long motions.

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Justice Scott to FCA

Justice André F.J. Scott has been elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal on Friday to replace Justice Noël. He has been a judge of the Federal Court since 2010. Appointments were also made to the Ontario and Newfoundland courts.

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IP Treaties

The government has tabled five intellectual property treaties in the House of Commons:

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

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Burden of Proof

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court held that the patentee has the burden of proving infringement when a licensee seeks declaratory judgment, in Medtronic v. Mirowski (PDF), reversing the lower court.

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