Modernizing Canada’s Patents Regime—An Overview

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The Government of Canada is making progress towards modernizing Canada's intellectual property (IP) framework. Implementing widely adopted international treaties in Canada will better position businesses to compete globally through a cost-effective means for obtaining reliable and high quality IP rights in multiple jurisdictions. A modernized patent regime will help Canadian businesses stay competitive in international markets by giving them an efficient means of protecting their intellectual property in various jurisdictions around the world. A regime that is aligned with other jurisdictions will lower the cost and increase the ease of doing business in Canada. Overall, this is a benefit to both Canadian businesses and those looking to invest in Canadian markets.

Canada has already signed onto the Patent Law Treaty (PLT), but has yet to ratify it. The PLT is a World Intellectual Property Organization accord which aims to simplify and harmonize administrative practices among national intellectual property offices with respect to the patent application process. Ratifying this treaty will mean key benefits for Canadian businesses:

  • Securing a filing date more efficiently—Under the proposed changes, 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 lead to efficiencies, administrative savings and lessens the potential for errors that could lead to loss of rights.
  • Modernized patent legislative framework—Canadian businesses will be able to compete globally with foreign applicants on an equal footing.

Canada is already compliant with many aspects of the treaty, however to ratify the PLT some legislative and regulatory changes are required. We have already amended the Patent Act and proposed changes to user fees for patents have been recently approved by Parliament.

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.

Some of the most significant proposed changes to Canada's patent regime are:

  • simplification and reduction of requirements for obtaining a filing date
  • harmonization of requirements that can be requested by national offices, with respect to the form and content of an application
  • amendments to the abandonment/reinstatement regime, including the introduction of notifications prior to abandonment
  • possibility for patentees and applicants to perform certain administrative procedures without representation
  • simplification of procedures for transfer of ownership
  • possibility of extension of the priority period under specific conditions

Submit feedback about the proposed Patent Rules by visiting our submissions page.

Return to the main consultations page