Connecting Canada to the World: Intellectual Property Treaties
In a world where intellectual property (IP) plays an increasingly significant role in the global success of businesses, Canadian businesses and innovators expanding into international markets want easy and cost-effective ways to protect their IP in those markets.
But, it isn't always easy. IP regimes are domestic, and applying for IP rights in more than one country means facing a multitude of laws and procedures, forms in different languages, and fees in different currencies.
CIPO wants to help Canadian businesses take full advantage of the growth opportunities offered by foreign markets. As such, it is essential for us to harmonize Canada's IP system with international standards and to work collaboratively with other IP offices to make the global IP system more transparent and effective.
We are then seeking feedback from interested businesses, individuals, groups and organizations, as part of our public consultations on the proposed regulatory amendments to the Industrial Design Regulations, the Trade-marks Regulations and the Patent Rules.
Consultations will occur from:
- June 19 to July 14 on the proposed Industrial Design Regulations (closed)
- June 19 to July 21 on proposed Trade-marks Regulations (closed)
- August 1 to September 8 on the proposed Patent Rules (closed)
We have been advancing work to modernize Canada's IP framework by joining five international treaties administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO):
- Madrid Protocol
The Madrid Protocol is an international registration system (the “Madrid system”) that offers the possibility of obtaining protection for trademarks in a number of countries through a single international application filed with the International Bureau of WIPO.
- Singapore Treaty
The Singapore Treaty is a trademark law treaty that aims to make national trademark registration systems more user-friendly and to reduce business compliance costs for trademark owners.
- Nice Agreement
The Nice Agreement governs an international system used to categorize goods and services for the purposes of registering trademarks. The Nice classification system creates specific categories for goods and services that are harmonized across all member countries, making it easier to search for and compare different marks.
- Patent Law Treaty
The Patent Law Treaty (or PLT) aims to harmonize and streamline patent administrative procedures among national IP offices. It addresses issues such as the provision of grace periods to avoid loss of rights, representation before the IP office, and red-tape reduction.
- Hague Agreement
The Hague Agreement provides a mechanism for acquiring, maintaining and managing industrial design rights in a number of countries through a single application filed through the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Joining these treaties will support Canadian businesses looking to enter or expand their presence in international markets by providing a faster, simpler, and more cost-effective way to acquire IP protection in multiple countries. Canada's membership in these treaties will also help create the conditions to attract foreign investment and facilitate international competitiveness and trade.
Completing the work that will allow Canada to join these treaties is an essential step toward harmonization with other IP jurisdictions. So far, we have amended the Patent Act, the Trade-marks Act and the Industrial Design Act to comply with the requirements of the treaties. Proposed changes to our user fees for patents and trademarks were recently approved by Parliament.
We are now in the process of amending our Rules and Regulations which will guide us on how the Acts will be applied, as well as making the necessary changes to our administrative systems and procedures.
Learn more, read an overview on:
- Modernizing Canada's Trademarks Regime
- Modernizing Canada's Industrial Design Regime
- Modernizing Canada's Patent Regime—Overview
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