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Canada-EU trade agreement presages IP reform

National Post, Canada

Canada-EU trade agreement presages IP reform

1 November 2013

By Julius Melnitzer

The far reaching provisions of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union will have considerable impact on Canada’s IP regime.

According to Smart & Biggar’s IP Update, CETA includes the following relating to IP:

1. Pharmaceutical innovators will be given the right to appeal PMNOC decisions; as well, the dual litigation that exists under the current PMNOC system will be eliminated. Canada will also provide additional protection to eligible pharmaceutical patents and will lock in the current eight-year term for data protection-based market exclusivity.

2. CETA reflects Canada’s new copyright regime, but some provisions of the new Copyright Act still need to be proclaimed in force.

3. Canada has agreed to make all reasonable efforts to comply with international agreements and revamp its rules regarding geographical indications to address EU concerns regarding food and beer.

4. CETA reflects the Canadian regime for plants and plant protection products.

5. If Bill C-56, the proposed new anti-counterfeiting legislation, is enacted, Canada will be CETA compliant for the most part.

Smart & Biggar cautious that the CETA agreement has not yet been finalized, and that there may be further changes.

“Once finalized, there will remain the requirement to ratify the agreement, which may not occur until 2015,” Smart & Biggar notes. “The long process of statutory reform (which will require Parliamentary approval for any changes to the various Acts noted above) and regulatory reform (which will only require approval through designated agencies) will likely not begin until the agreement is ratified. It may therefore be a number of years before specific changes to Canadian law are implemented.”