Canada’s Intellectual Property Law Firm

Canadian Parliament passes legislation implementing the USMCA

Bill C-4, entitled An Act to implement the Agreement between Canada, the United States of America and the United Mexican States (i.e. the USMCA), has received royal assent from the Governor General of Canada.

The legislation passed on the eve of suspension of Parliament until April 20, 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The third reading of the Bill in the House of Commons, the three required readings in the Senate, and royal assent, all occurred on March 13, 2020.

The provisions of Bill C-4 relevant to intellectual property will come into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.

The USMCA will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and require a number of changes to Canada’s IP laws, including the following three changes of particular significance:

  1. Introduction of a patent term adjustment procedure to compensate for Patent Office delay in issuing a patent.  Canada must implement its obligations under this provision within 4.5 years of the date the USMCA enters into force.
  2. An increase of the copyright term from life of the author plus 50 years to life of the author plus 70 years.  Canada must comply with this requirement within 2.5 years of the date the USMCA enters into force.
  3. Suspected counterfeit goods that are in transit (i.e., traveling through but not destined for Canada) will become susceptible to detention at the border.

For further details of Bill C-4 and the USMCA please see our previous articles here and here.

The preceding is intended as a timely update on Canadian intellectual property and technology law. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please communicate with our offices directly.