Canada has joined 5 international intellectual property treaties

The Government of Canada has modernized Canada's intellectual property (IP) regime by joining 5 international IP treaties, specifically with regard to industrial designs, trademarks and patents.

The goal is to reduce the administrative burden and provide harmonized procedures for Canadian businesses. Positioning Canada as a global innovation centre is key to advancing our Innovation and Skills Plan.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is also modernizing the IP legal framework and office practices. These are aligned with Canada's efforts to develop and implement our IP Strategy to help ensure that its IP regime is modern and robust and that it supports Canadian innovation in the 21st century.

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Canada's progress in joining the treaties

Joining the treaties is a complex initiative with many components, including legislative, regulatory and information technology requirements.

We consulted broadly with stakeholders and interested parties to get their input throughout the process.

After the ratification of the Patent Law Treaty in October 2019, CIPO has now fully implemented all 5 treaties, which include the following:

Industrial designs and the Hague Agreement

Industrial designs and the Hague Agreement

On , Canada acceded to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (the Hague System) and implemented changes to significantly modernize Canada's industrial design regime.

Figure 1: Our path to treaty ratification
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Figure 1 - Text version
  1. Amendments to the Industrial Design Act (2014)
  2. Public consultations on the draft Regulations (2017)
  3. Canada Gazette process (I and II) (2018)
  4. Deposit of instrument of accession at WIPO (2018)
  5. Coming into force (2018)
The Hague Agreement

The Hague System provides a mechanism for acquiring, maintaining and managing design rights in member countries and intergovernmental organizations through a single international application filed with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). There are multiple countries and regional associations in the Hague System, including most of Canada's major trading partners, such as the United States, the European Union, South Korea and Japan.

Membership in the Hague Agreement provides key benefits for business:

  • One application, one payment, one currency and one place
  • Simpler rights maintenance and management
Modernizing Canada's industrial design regime

With the accession to the Hague Agreement, Canada introduced a number of modernization measures to its industrial design regime that also have key benefits for business:

  • Increased term of protection, from 10 to 15 years
  • Codification of the "novelty test"
  • Less red tape
  • Enhanced e-services
Legislative and regulatory process

To facilitate Canada's accession to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement and to modernize the industrial design regime, a number of amendments were made to the Industrial Design Act and Industrial Design Regulations, which came into force on .

CIPO has also revamped its Industrial Design Office Practice Manual, which sets out how it operationalizes the above-noted legislative and regulatory changes.

Engagement activities

CIPO has actively engaged with key stakeholders (e.g. IP agents who are regular users of the Canadian industrial design system) about the changes necessary to join the Hague System throughout the regulatory development process.

Engagement activities have included the following:

  • Technical reviews of changes on various regulatory elements
  • Technical reviews of changes in information technology
  • In-person and online public consultations in the Canada Gazette
  • Consultations with WIPO

CIPO plans to keep engaging with stakeholders on an ongoing basis.

Technical reviews
  • Technical review of the changes to the Industrial Design Act (July 2014)
  • Technical review of the regulatory drafting instructions with the Industrial Design Practice Committee (IDPC) (February 2016)
  • Technical review of the draft Industrial Design Regulations (May 2017)
  • Technical consultations on the draft Industrial Design Office Practice Manual with the IDPC (March 2018)
In-person consultations
  • Consultations on the regulatory drafting instructions with WIPO (February 2016)
  • Consultations on the draft Industrial Design Regulations with WIPO (June 2017)
  • Demonstration of changes to the e-filing service with clients (December 2017)
Online consultations
Trademarks and the Madrid Protocol, Singapore Treaty and Nice Agreement

Trademarks and the Madrid Protocol, Singapore Treaty and Nice Agreement

On June 17, 2019, the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty and the Nice Agreement came into force in Canada.

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 the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

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.

The Nice Agreement governs an international system used to categorize goods and services for the purpose 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 trademarks.

Figure 2: Our path to treaty ratification
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Figure 2 - Text version
  1. Amendments to the Trademarks Act (2014)
  2. Public consultations on the draft Regulations (2017)
  3. Canada Gazette process (I and II) (2018)
  4. Deposit of instrument of accession at WIPO (2019)
  5. Coming into force ()
Engagement activities

The Trademarks Branch and the Trademarks Opposition Board actively engaged with stakeholders (including a range of associations, IP agents and major trademark filers in Canada) about the changes necessary to join the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty and the Nice Agreement.

Engagement activities included the following:

  • Technical reviews of changes on various legislative and regulatory elements
  • In-person and online public consultations
  • Ongoing collaboration with WIPO

CIPO plans to keep engaging with stakeholders on an ongoing basis.

Technical reviews
  • Email survey on the Nice Agreement (fee per class), use and relief measures (November 2013)
  • Technical review of the draft Trademarks Regulations (February 2017)
  • Technical consultations in Ottawa, Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver regarding draft practice notices (February 2018)
In-person consultations
  • Consultation on proposed trademark fees with top trademark filers (April 2015)
  • Consultations on new and updated Trademarks Opposition Board practice notices (April and May 2018)
Online consultations
Patents and the Patent Law Treaty

Patents and the Patent Law Treaty

On October 30, 2019, Canada officially ratified the Patent Law Treaty when the amendments to the Patent Act and the new Patent Rules came into force.

The Patent Law Treaty aims to harmonize and streamline patent administrative procedures among national IP offices. It addresses issues such as the provision of notification to avoid loss of rights, representation before the IP office and red-tape reduction.

Figure 3: Our path to treaty ratification
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Figure 3 - Text version
  1. Amendments to the Patent Act (2014-2015)
  2. Amendments to the Patent Rules and public consultations on the draft regulations (2017)
  3. Canada Gazette process (I and II) (2018 to 2019)
  4. Deposit of instrument of accession at WIPO (2019)
  5. Coming into force ()
Engagement activities

The Patent Branch actively engaged with a wide range of stakeholders throughout the process. Key stakeholders who provided valuable feedback in consultations included the following:

  • registered patent agents representing both Canadian and foreign applicants and patentees
  • national and international professional associations (e.g. Intellectual Property Institute of Canada and International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys)
  • members of the public (Canadian and foreign)

CIPO plans to keep engaging with stakeholders on an ongoing basis.

International IP treaties that Canada has already joined

Treaties that apply to trademarks


Additional information and training opportunities

Consult these pages for more information on the 5 treaties and how they are modernizing IP regimes:


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