Combating Counterfeit Products Coming into Canada

Frequently Asked Questions

What does this Bill aim to do?

The Combating Counterfeit Products Act aims to reduce trade in counterfeit goods sold to Canadian consumers and businesses by providing new enforcement tools.

Counterfeit products are harmful to Canadians and their families, businesses and our economy. They deceive consumers and decrease confidence in the marketplace. They are often of poor quality and are dangerous to the health and safety of Canadians. Finally, they disrupt markets, lead to lost tax revenue for the government and raise costs for legitimate Canadian businesses.

How will the Bill help reduce trade in counterfeit goods?

The Bill will reduce trade in counterfeit goods by providing new enforcement tools to strengthen Canada's existing enforcement regime, both at and within our border. It will also bolster our existing protections against commercial counterfeiting activities.

The best way to stop counterfeiting, which is detrimental to Canadian consumers and businesses, is to curtail the sale and distribution of commercial counterfeit goods in Canada.

Specifically, this Bill will:

  • give border officers the authority to detain suspected commercial shipments and contact the rights holders;
  • allow Canadian businesses to file a request for assistance, with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), in turn, enabling border officers to share information with rights holders regarding suspect shipments;
  • provide new criminal offences for the commercial possession, manufacture or trafficking of counterfeit trademark goods;
  • provide legitimate owners with new tools to protect their rights and take civil action against infringers;
  • create new offences for trademark counterfeiting; and
  • provide better tools to investigate commercial counterfeiting.

What new authorities will border officers have as a result of this Bill?

This Bill proposes changes to the Trade-marks Act and the Copyright Act to prohibit the import and export of counterfeit trademark goods. As part of these changes, the Bill would give border officers the legal authority and discretion to search for, examine and temporarily detain commercial shipments of suspected counterfeit goods at the border.

Why is it necessary to give border officers stronger powers to act on their own to stop goods at the border?

Currently, there is no legal authority for CBSA officers to proactively target, examine and detain commercial counterfeit goods at the border. This Bill provides new tools for CBSA officers to proactively stop harmful counterfeit goods before they enter Canada. Ultimately, it aims to balance between state enforcement and private civil action.

This regime will help businesses to better enforce their registered trademarks in Canada. Rights holders may file a "request for assistance" with the CBSA, in turn allowing the agency to share certain information that will help rights holders initiate civil actions against infringers.

How will rights holders benefit from these changes?

This Bill establishes a voluntary "request for assistance" system, which allows rights holders to file a request seeking the CBSA's assistance in temporarily detaining suspected counterfeit goods encountered at the border.

Additionally, the Bill would provide border officers with the legal authority to share certain customs information with rights holders regarding suspected counterfeit trademark goods they encountered thereby providing rights holders with the information required to take civil action.

Why is this Bill needed now?

The Harper Government has long been committed to combating counterfeiting due to the significant harm associated with counterfeit goods. There are potential health and safety risks with counterfeit goods made of inferior materials without quality controls. Essentially, counterfeit goods undermine consumer confidence in the marketplace. These goods disrupt Canadian markets, lead to lost tax revenues for the Government and increase costs for legitimate Canadian businesses. The resulting lost revenues for rights holders can lead to delays in creating innovative new products or services.

In recent years, evidence has suggested an upward trend in global trade in goods. Two House of Commons committees have published detailed reports confirming the growing threat posed by these goods – not only to the Canadian economy but also to health and safety. Furthermore, counterfeiting has become a priority for Canada's key trading partners and other G8 countries, many of which have taken steps to strengthen their respective intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement regimes.

In order to respond to long-standing concerns raised by domestic stakeholders (including major national business groups and consumers) and to bring Canada in line with international standards, Canada needs to take steps now to strengthen its own IPR enforcement regime.

Will this personally affect Canadians?

This Bill only affects those people that seek to bring counterfeit goods into Canada for commercial purposes.