Bill C-56 (the Combatting Counterfeit Products Act) will have to be re-introduced in the next session of Parliament, now that the Prime Minister has decided to prorogue Parliament. On March 1, 2013, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-56 in the House of Commons, which proposed to amend both the Copyright Act and the Trade-marks Act to add new civil causes of action, new criminal offences, and create new powers for customs officers in relation to counterfeit and pirated goods.
Specifically, Bill C-56 proposed new civil causes of action against individuals who engage in activities that sustain commercial activity in infringing copies of copyrighted works and counterfeit trade-marked goods. The Bill also created new criminal offences prohibiting the sale, offer to sell, distribution, manufacture, possession, import, export, advertisement of counterfeit trade-marked goods on a commercial scale. With respect to the Copyright Act, the amendments aimed to prohibit the possession, sale, rental, distribution and export of counterfeit copies. Strict penalties would apply for the offences under both Acts. Customs officers would also be given the power to detain goods that they suspect infringe on copyright and trade-mark rights. Finally, the Bill proposed to amend the Trade-marks Act to allow the Registrar of Trade-marks to correct errors that appear on the Trade-mark Register, to streamline and modernize the trade-mark application and opposition process and, more significantly, to expand the scope of what can be registered as a trade-mark. Under the amendments, non-traditional marks such as sounds, scents, tastes, textures and the positioning of marks would be registrable. It will be interesting to keep a close eye on this Bill once Parliament resumes.