Intellectual Property – When does Competition Bureau Step In? (Canada)

On March 31st, the Competition Bureau of Canada published guidelines on the intricate dance of the various Acts governing intellectual property and unfair competition.  It is not a bad read at all, as it provides succinct definitions of intellectual property types (which I will no doubt use for inspiration when explaining things to my clients – they are that good), as well as 9 examples of unfair practices  in which the Competition Bureau would be called to intervene.

Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines

Some of the examples are:

  • Price fixing
  • Exclusive Contracts
  • A Patent Pooling Arrangement
  • Refusal to License Intellectual Property
  • Representations Made in the Context of Asserting Patents
  • Reneging on a Licensing Commitment
  • Seeking an Injunction after Making a Licensing Commitment

Enjoy the read.  As always, the proof is in the pudding, or more accurately, in the implementation of these new Guidelines.

CETA Trade Agreement: Europe and Canada

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and Europe, or CETA, was published September 26, 2014.

The text may be found here:

http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/agr-acc/ceta-aecg/text-texte/toc-tdm.aspx?lang=eng

There is a lot of information about tariffs on certain levels of imports and exports, fairness, business travel… The people who prepared this document have won a place in the heaven of trade administrators, for it is indeed exhaustive.

By section 21, I could not make myself read anymore.

I went up the urls until I found a summary about the IP, which I translated into English For People Who Don’t Like Long Careful Paragraphs Designed Not to Piss Anyone Off:

  • Copyright: CETA echoes the recent Copyright Modernization Act, supporting  copyright owners while allowing Internet service providers, educators, students and businesses the tools they need to use new technologies in innovative ways.
  • Geographical indications: Canada already recognizes geographical indications for wines and spirits. CETA adds recognition of EU geographical indications for foodstuffs, such as certain meats and cheeses.
  • Patents: Pharmaceutical patent extension, balanced by needs of Canadians for affordable drugs. The policy background is that we want to keep and bring science jobs and investments to Canada.  I know there are a lot of whiners who don’t like patent extension, but if you want good pharmaceuticals, good jobs, and good tax income for Canada, suck it up.
  • Counterfeit goods: Counterfeit goods are often crappy, can be dangerous, and are definitely unfair to innovators and designers.  Enforcement that is efficient is the goal.

No doubt there will be a few bumps along to road to getting all this implemented, but organized trade which promotes fairness and trust among nations is a good thing. (Sorry, Martha!)