Canada has concluded negotiations with 11 other countries (including Australia, Chile, Japan, Mexico, and Peru) to create the Trans-Pacific free trade zone (the largest free trade zone in the world).  The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement was released on November 5 2015. The TPP Agreement will need to be ratified by Canada before coming into force.

The TPP addresses aims to facilitate the protection and enforcement of IP rights.  Chapter 18 of the TPP covers IP. Parties to the TPP must cooperate by streamlining their PTO procedures and processes, exchanging search results and other information, and reducing procedural barriers.

On the Trademark front, the TPP requires signatories to allow for the registration of sound and scent marks, and to adopt the Nice Classification system.  These requirements have already been addressed in Bill C-31 (which received Royal Assent and is anticipated to come into force in late 2017, or early 2018.  The TPP also expands the protection afforded to registered trademarks, well-known marks and geographical indications, and requires stronger border measures.  Although Canada recently introduced new border measures in the Combating Counterfeit Products Act, the TPP expands on these by requiring member states to provide customs officials with the power to  initiate border measures ex officio with respect to goods under customs controls that are in transit.

The newly-elected Liberal government has indicated that it supports free trade.  Prime Minister Trudeau stated that “[t]he Trans-Pacific Partnership stands to remove trade barriers, widely expand free trade for Canada, and increase opportunities for our middle class and those working hard to join it. Liberals will take a responsible approach to thoroughly examining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

For further updates, please contact Paula Clancy

 

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