The Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) is in Ottawa to advocate for improvements to the patent and trade-mark systems in Canada. On the occasion of World Intellectual Property (IP) Day, IPIC is calling on the government to make small but important changes to Canada’s IP laws to ensure that IP owners and Canadian innovators do not face the inadvertent loss of rights from events ranging from natural disasters to simple clerical errors in the application process.
“Canada’s IP system contains unforgiving formal and procedural requirements. IP rights should not be lost due to innocent mistakes in following formal clerical procedures,” said Roseann Caldwell, IPIC President. “Patent rights in Canada were lost as a result of the 2003 blackout. They have also been lost due to innocent mistakes such as in paying the incorrect amount of government fees. These issues have resulted in a number of court decisions that affect businesses and reflect poorly on the Canadian IP system.”
There is a simple fix to this problem: amend the IP laws to protect Canadian innovators from inadvertent loss of IP rights, as is the case in several jurisdictions including the United States, Japan and the European Union. The IP systems in many other countries have provisions to readily deal with force majeure situations and mechanisms to prevent inadvertent loss of rights. Canada’s does not.
“Implementation of the changes that IPIC advocates would involve no cost to the federal government and would not affect other aspects of IP law in Canada. The changes would bring Canada in line with the many other jurisdictions which have already addressed these problems,” concluded Caldwell.