The above Bill is an omnibus budget bill which also contains the following amendments affecting intellectual property in Canada:
- Force majeure – Under this provision, extension of time limits in unforeseen circumstances will be allowed. This provision allows the Canadian Intellectual Property Office to extend deadlines in the event of floods, ice storms and other natural disasters so that holders of intellectual property rights can avoid the inadvertent loss of rights in such events.
- Statutory privilege – This provision grants statutory privilege to Canadian and foreign intellectual property agents, such as Trademark Agents and Patent Agents who are not also lawyers. Once this provision is in force, confidential communications between rights holders, as clients, and their agents will be subject to privilege. The communication must be made for the purpose of seeking or giving advice with respect to matters relating to the protection of trademarks or patents. This privilege is much the same as the privilege that is currently granted to communications between lawyers and their clients.
- Correction of errors – This provision provides for the authority to make regulations for the correction of errors. For example, the Registrar of Trademarks will have additional powers to correct errors in registrations, whereas previously the sole remedy available to rights holders for correction of errors in registrations was to apply to the Federal Court.
- Extension of Copyright Term for Sound Recordings – The copyright term for sound recordings and performance rights will be extended from 50 years to 70 years after publication, subject to a 100 year maximum.
Most of the above provisions will come into force through regulations and orders in council. The provisions regarding agent privilege will come into force next year.