Canadian government reluctant to make changes to intellectual property protection laws, says Andrew Shaughnessy in Bloomberg BNA

Canadian Government Unlikely to Implement Proposed IP Protection Measures, Lawyers Say

June 27, 2012

The federal government is unlikely to implement proposals by the Canadian business community that would significantly toughen Canada's intellectual property regime and particularly crack down on trade in counterfeit goods, Canadian legal experts suggest.

Andrew Shaughnessy agreed that despite the obvious need for Canada to improve its protection of intellectual property, the federal government remains reluctant to make statutory changes.

Canada is viewed internationally as lagging in IP enforcement, and regularly makes the U.S. Trade Representative's watch list for countries with poor IP regimes, and a strong IP protection regime is clearly a prerequisite for achieving the federal government's goal of turning Canada into a knowledge economy, but even that has not been enough to push the government to make statutory changes, said Andrew.

Reopening major statutes like the Copyright Act and Patent Act always leads to a multitude of demands from different interest groups, and is politically messy, he said. Even the current federal government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which is extremely pro-business and has a strong law and order agenda, seems unwilling to tackle the issue of IP protection, he said. The few changes to patent and copyright statutes have largely responded to challenges of Canada's practices through the World Trade Organization or World Intellectual Property Organization, he said. "That is a problem. Statutory amendment in this country is polar and political, and it doesn't happen often," he said.

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