Consultation on principles guiding the harmonization of substantive patent law

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Consultation update

Consultation comments received.


Consultation period

From January 19 to March 23, 2016

Consultation documents

Consultation and discussion

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is holding a first consultation on the international harmonization of patent law.

Group B+ and Group B+ sub-group

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has been host to patent law harmonization talks for over 30 years. In the 1990s, these talks focussed on patent formalities issues and led, in 2000, to the adoption of the Patent Law Treaty (PLT). Canada signed the PLT in 2001 and is in the process of implementing the treaty.

In November 2000, the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) resumed work on the development of a substantive patent law harmonization treaty. To promote and facilitate progress on key issues under consideration at the SCP, the Group B+ was established.

In 2014, the chair of the Group B+ set up a sub-group to further advance work on the following topics:

  • non-prejudicial disclosures / grace period
  • publication of applications
  • conflicting applications
  • prior user rights
  • prior art

Canada is part of the Group B+ sub-group and has been involved in the work and information-sharing that led to the development, by the chair, of a paper presenting the findings of the sub-group with respect to these five topics. Objectives and principles guiding substantive patent law harmonization have been identified and presented in the same paper.


CIPO is reaching out to the public and, in particular, industry members, to provide comments that will be valuable in informing the next stages of the harmonization talks in the context of the sub-group and of the Group B+. CIPO will be conducting more consultations as the work of the sub-group moves forward.

Additional questions

Feedback is also sought on the following questions:

  • Where consensus has been reached within the sub-group, are there any further considerations that need to be taken into account when developing proposals?
  • Where members of the sub-group currently hold differing views, how should competing considerations be balanced, and what new approaches might reconcile these differences?
  • When developing proposals, how important is it that the various aspects under consideration are progressed together, and which aspects, if any, can be progressed separately?
  • How should these and other discussions, for instance amongst industry stakeholders, move forward, so that areas of consensus can be formally agreed and implemented?

How to submit your comments

Your submissions must be received no later than March 23, 2016, in English or French, to be considered within this consultation process. Any submission received after this date will not be reviewed.

Please submit your questions or comments by email to

Please include Consultation on principles guiding the harmonization of substantive patent law in the subject line of your email.

CIPO will dismiss any submission that includes:

  • input targeting or mentioning specific individuals (such a submission will be disregarded as per the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act)
  • inappropriate language

Please note that all comments will be posted on CIPO's website following the consultation period in the language in which they were submitted.