Today, as part of its budget announcement the government indicated its plans to amend the Patent Act, Trade-marks Act and Industrial Design Act to provide statutory privilege for confidential communications with agents and permit CIPO to extend deadlines in cases of force majeure. The government also plans to amend the Copyright Act to implement and accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled and to extend the term of protection of sound recordings and performances for an additional 20 years.
Patents, Trade-marks and Industrial Designs
The statement in the Budget states in full (at page 113):
Intellectual property is a valuable strategic asset for businesses competing in local and global markets. The Government has a strong record of taking action to ensure Canada’s intellectual property framework provides robust, balanced protection for consumers and rights holders. The 2012 Copyright Modernization Act updated Canada’s copyright laws for the digital age; the Combatting Counterfeit Products Act implemented new measures to address the serious problem of counterfeit goods; and Economic Action Plan 2014 harmonized Canada’s intellectual property administration framework with international norms, helping innovative Canadian businesses access international markets, lowering costs and reducing the regulatory burden and red tape.
Building on these measures, Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to further modernize Canada’s intellectual property framework to keep pace with internationally recognized best practices. The Government will propose amendments to the Patent Act, Trade-marks Act and Industrial Design Act to provide intellectual property agents with a statutory privilege for confidential communications with clients, enhancing Canada as a place in which to invent and market inventions. This measure will bring Canada’s framework in line with other common law countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Amendments will also be proposed to modernize administrative practices and increase clarity and legal certainty for businesses. For example, proposed amendments would provide the Canadian Intellectual Property Office with the ability to extend key deadlines in cases of force majeure events such as floods or ice storms.
These amendments are directed to issues that IPIC (see its press release) has been advocating for many years. It will be interesting to see what the implementation details look like once the amendments and regulator details are published.
The budget bill will also extend the term of protection for sound recordings and performances for an additional 20 years to 70 years. The budget document states (at page 305):
The mid-1960s were an exciting time in Canadian music, producing many iconic Canadian performers and recordings. While songwriters enjoy the benefits flowing from their copyright throughout their lives, some performers are starting to lose copyright protection for their early recordings and performances because copyright protection for song recordings and performances following the first release of the sound recording is currently provided for only 50 years.