International intellectual property treaties: benefits for business

If you're looking to expand your business outside Canada, you need to protect your intellectual property (IP) in other countries. The good news is that it will be easier to protect your IP outside Canada thanks to Canada's efforts to join international IP treaties.

Canada is in the process of joining five international treaties. By the end of 2018, Canada will have joined the Hague Agreement and by the end of 2019, the four other treaties, i.e. the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty, the Nice Agreement and the Patent Law Treaty. These will provide foreign businesses in member countries reciprocal advantages in applying for intellectual property protection in Canada.

The goal is to provide Canadian businesses with a globally competitive advantage thanks to reduced administrative burden and harmonized international procedures. Positioning ourselves as a global innovation centre is key to advancing our Innovation and Skills Plan.

CIPO is also modernizing the IP legal framework and office practices. These are aligned with Canada's Intellectual Property Strategy to help ensure that our IP regime is modern, robust, and supports Canadian innovation in the 21st century

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How will joining these IP treaties benefit my business?

Canada is joining five international treaties to allow your business to be better positioned to compete globally through a cost-effective means for obtaining reliable and high-quality IP rights in various jurisdictions around the world.

Aligning domestic IP regimes with other jurisdictions will make it easier to do business in Canada. This will benefit both Canadian businesses and those looking to invest in Canadian markets.

Which treaties apply to industrial designs and what are their benefits?

Canada is joining the Hague Agreement and modernizing its industrial design regime.

Currently, Canadian businesses seeking to register their industrial designs in other countries must meet the administrative requirements of each foreign Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

They must:

  • file a separate application;
  • pay a separate fee in the appropriate currency; and
  • track and manage their applications in each IPO

This can be a complex, costly and time-consuming process.

The Hague Agreement means key benefits for businesses:

  • One application, one payment, one currency, one place: Applicants can apply for industrial design protection in multiple countries through one application, with fees paid in one currency through a single transaction with the World Intellectual Property Organization.
  • Simpler rights maintenance and management: Registered design owners have access to a streamlined mechanism for maintaining and managing industrial design rights in multiple jurisdictions.

Modernizing Canada's industrial design regime also has key benefits for businesses:

  • Increased term of protection: The maximum term of protection for industrial designs is increased from 10 to 15 years.
  • Less red tape: Application and filing date requirements have been simplified and streamlined. There are also increased flexibilities for error correction, appointments of agents and a representative for service.
  • Enhanced e-services: The e-filing interface for clients has been improved, including enhanced functionalities and new services.

Which treaties apply to trademarks and what are their benefits?

CIPO will be acceding to three treaties: the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty and the Nice Agreement.

Acceding to these treaties will give key benefits to businesses:

  • One form, one transaction, one currency, one place: Applicants can choose to apply for trademark protection in multiple countries via one application form sent to one location and pay once in a single currency through a single transaction with the World Intellectual Property Organization.
  • Harmonized administrative procedures and formalities: Similar and standardized trademark procedures in multiple countries leads to efficiencies, administrative savings and reduced compliance costs for businesses.
  • Consistent goods and services classification system: Goods and services with which trademarks are used are classified consistently across multiple countries, facilitating global trademark searching.

Which treaties apply to patents and what are their benefits?

Canada is joining the Patent Law Treaty (PLT). Its goals are 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.

Acceding to this treaty translates to key benefits for businesses:

  • Secure a filing date more efficiently—Under the proposed changes, business applicants will be able to secure a filing date with fewer administrative requirements and will no longer be required to pay a filing fee for the purposes of establishing a filing date.
  • Harmonized administrative procedures and formalities—Similar and standardized patent procedures in multiple countries leads to efficiencies, administrative savings and lessens the potential for errors that could lead to loss of rights.
  • Modernized patent legislative framework—Canadian businesses and foreign applicants will be able to compete globally on an equal footing.

Additional information and training opportunities

Sign up for training, webinars and demos to learn more about the changes brought forward by joining 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: