Canada is joining five international intellectual property treaties

The Government of Canada is modernizing Canada's intellectual property (IP) regime by joining five 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 ourselves 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 Intellectual Property Strategy to help ensure that Canada's 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 are consulting broadly with stakeholders and interested parties to get their input throughout the process.

We expect to fully implement the treaties by the end of 2019.

Industrial design and the Hague Agreement

Industrial design and the Hague Agreement

The Hague Agreement 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).

What's been accomplished so far?

Canada is poised to accede to the Hague Agreement and significantly modernize Canada's industrial design regime.

  1. The Industrial Design Act was amended in 2014
  2. The new Industrial Design Regulations were published in June 2018

Canada's accession to the Hague Agreement and the rest of the changes to Canada's industrial design regime will come into force on November 5, 2018.

Figure 1
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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)
Engagement activities

The Copyright and Industrial Design Branch 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, up to the coming-into-force date.

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 Practices manual (IDOP) 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)
  • Demo of e-services changes 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

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.

What's been accomplished so far?

  1. The Trade-marks Act was amended in 2014.
  2. A review of the fee changes was conducted under the User Fees Act in 2016 as part of modernizing Canada's trademark regime.
  3. The new Trademarks Regulations were published in November 2018 and will come into force on and will enable Canada to accede to the Madrid Protocol, Singapore Treaty and the Nice Agreement.
Figure 2
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Figure 2 - Text version
  1. Amendments to the Trade-marks 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 (2019)
Engagement activities

The Trademarks Branch has 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 have 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, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver regarding draft practice notices (February 2018)
In-person consultations
  • Consultation on proposed trademark fees with top trademark filers (April 2015)
Online consultations
Patents and the Patent Law Treaty

Patents and the Patent Law Treaty

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.

What's been accomplished so far?

  1. The Patent Act was amended in 2014 and in 2015.
  2. A review of fee changes was conducted under the User Fees Act in 2016.
  3. A public consultation on proposed changes to the Patent Rules was held in 2017.

We are now in the process of amending the Patent Rules, which will guide us on how the Act will be applied, as well as making the necessary changes to our administrative systems and procedures. We expect to be able to accede to the Patent Law Treaty in late 2019.

Figure 3
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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 (2019)
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, up to the coming-into-force date.

Technical reviews
  • Technical review of Parts 1 and 2 of the draft rules (Patent Cooperation Treaty) (June 2017)
  • Technical review of Part 3 of the draft rules (November 2017)
Online consultations

International IP treaties that Canada has already joined

Treaties that apply to trademarks


Additional information and training opportunities

Sign up for training, webinars and demos to learn more about the changes brought forward by Canada's accession to the IP treaties as they pertain to industrial designs, trademarks and patents.

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


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