Supreme Court of Canada eliminates Promise of Patent Doctrine

In an exciting decision released today, the Supreme Court of Canada eliminates the Promise Doctrine in Canadian patent law, which was established by the Federal Courts of Canada some years ago.

Under the Promise Doctrine, patents could be invalidated if they did not live up to all of the promises made in the patent, such as to a particular utility or advantage.  To the delight of many patent holders, the Supreme Court finds that a single use related to the nature of the subject matter is sufficient, and that utility must be established by either demonstration or sound prediction as of the filing date.  The Court also confirms that a patent holder is not required to disclose the utility of the invention.  For the full decision: https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/16713/index.do

 

Quebec and Saskatchewan to legislate Patent Box Incentives

Quebec and Saskatchewan are the first provinces in Canada to announce fiscal incentives for companies commercializing intellectual property. On March 17, 2016, Quebec’s Minister of Finance announced a “patent box” that would lower tax rates on revenue attributable to patents for inventions developed in Quebec as part of the provincial budget coming into effect on January 1, 2017. Earlier in the month, on March 11, Saskatchewan’s Premier announced that, if re-elected, a similar patent box incentive will be implemented in this province.

Prepared By Leah Labib, Associate

Patents Granted by Country at the USPTO: Canada is 6th in the world!

Canada should be proud of its recent record at the US Patent and Trademark Office in terms of granted patents.  Among foreign country filers, Canadian resident companies/individuals placed 6th in the total number of US patents being granted between 2001 to 2014.  In fact, between 2007 and 2014, the number of US patents granted to Canadians has more than doubled!  Innovation is alive in Canada, and our innovators are succeeding at protecting their rights in one of the most important markets.

Please visit link for a full listing of countries:  http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/cst_utl.htm

 

 

 

C+BR Recognized as 2015 Patents Law Firm of the Year in Canada

Clancy P.C. + Brion Raffoul is pleased to announce its recognition in the Legal Awards 2015 as “Patents Law Firm of the Year – Canada” by Lawyer Monthly (a UK-based publication).  C+BR was one of six law firms recognized in Canada, and in the company of about one hundred law firms worldwide.  Each recipient was subject to an independent and confidential nomination and research process.

For further details, please visit the Legal Awards 2015 PDF press release  – http://www.lawyer-monthly.com/media/Releases/15/LMLA2015-PressRelease.pdf

A link to the entire Awards Edition – http://www.lawyer-monthly.com/magazine/LMLA15

Patenting Medical Diagnostic Methods in Canada

CIPO has released new Guidelines for analyzing the patentability of Medical Diagnostic Method Claims.

As with general Canadian practice, Medical Diagnostic Method Claims must be construed in accordance with the practice of purposive claim construction. Namely, the claims must solve the problem described by the inventors according to the  essential elements identified in the Description.

Specifically regarding Medical Diagnostic Methods, the Guidelines identify two broad problem categories: (1) Data Acquisition Problems and (2) Data Analysis Problems. The Guidelines conclude that:

  • Data Acquisition Problems constitute patentable subject matter because the essential elements described include technical matter beyond the Common General Knowledge of the skilled artisan; however,
  • Data Analysis Problems do not constitute patentable subject matter because the essential elements are often disembodied (e.g., relate to mental analysis and/or intellectual significance of the data), and are therefore non-compliant with Section 2 of the Patent Act.

Should you have any questions regarding medical diagnostic method claims, please feel free to contact one of our professionals.

For further information, please see the Practice Notice at:

http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr03945.html

Prepared by Leah Labib

Privilege for Patent & Trade-mark Agents and Extensions of Time at CIPO for Unforseen Circumstances

By Katie Wei and Alexandra Lyn

Significant changes will be introduced to Canada’s laws on intellectual property as Bill C-59 received Royal Assent on June 23, 2015.

Privileged Communications

Client communications with registered Canadian patent and trade-mark agents will be privileged and confidential under the new legislation. This means that communications will be protected from forced disclosure in legal proceedings as long as the communication is (a) intended to be confidential, and (b) made in order to give or receive advice relating to the protection of inventions or trade-marks.

Communications between clients and foreign agents will also be privileged, provided that the communication is privileged under the laws of the foreign jurisdiction and the criteria above are met. These provisions will come into force on June 23, 2016; but will apply retroactively, as long as the communication remains confidential and are not subject to litigation before June 23, 2016.

Correction of Errors and Extension of Time Limits

The new legislation also provides for corrections to obvious errors in patent or industrial design documents, as well as extensions of time limits due to unforeseen circumstances (e.g. floods or ice storms) in patent, trade-mark, or industrial design documents. These provisions will likely come into force at a later date.

For more information, please contact our office.

Canadian Federal Court decides that business methods are patentable subject matter in Canada

AMAZON.COM, INC. (Appellant)

and

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CANADA, and
THE COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS (Respondents)

Yesterday, the Federal Court of Canada finally ruled on an appeal of a decision by the Commissioner of Patents to deny the Appellant’s patent for a “business method”, having found that it was not patentable subject matter under s. 2 of the Patent Act.

The Federal Court concluded that a “business method” can be patented in appropriate circumstances.

As long as a claim is not directed to an abstract idea or scheme, but rather has a practical application or embodiment, then it may be patentable.

Background:

Amazon.com is seeking a patent for an invention entitled, “Method And System For Placing A Purchase Order Via A Communication Network”.  The application was filed on September 11, 1998, and claimed priority from two U.S. patents.

The Federal Court stated that “[t]he claimed invention further enables internet shopping. The customer visits a website, enters address and payment information and is given an identifier stored in a ‘cookie’ in their computer. A ‘server’ (a computer system operating a commercial website) is able to recognize the ‘client’ (customer computer with the identifying cookie) and recall the purchasing information which is now stored in the vendor’s computer system. The customer can thus purchase an item with a ‘single click’ – the order is made without the need to ‘check out’ or enter any more information.”

Decisions and Reasoning:

The Federal Court held that the Commissioner of Patents’ rejection of Amazon.com’s patent application on the basis of non-patentable subject matter was not supported by Canadian law.   Rather, the Federal Court affirmed that the test to determine whether an art or “business method” is patentable is as set out by Progressive Games:

(i)            it must not be a disembodied idea but have a method of practical application;

(ii)          it must be a new and inventive method of applying skill and knowledge; and

(iii)         it must have a commercially useful result.

The Federal Court took a broad interpretation of “a method of practical application” saying that Amazon.com’s claims are patentable because the “‘physical effect’, transformation or change of character resides in the customer manipulating their computer and creating an order. It matters not that the ‘goods’ ordered are not physically changed.” This reasoning is generally in agreement with that of the U.S. Supreme Court in Bilski which held that a business method may be patentable as long as it is not an abstract idea, law of nature, or natural phenomena.

According to the Federal Court, we must not “restrict the patentability of practical applications which might, in light of today’s technology, consist of a slightly less conventional ‘change in character’ or effect [than] through a machine such as a computer”.  The Federal Court held that there is not a statutory exclusion for business methods in Canada: “[To] implement a business method exception would be a ‘radical departure’ from the current regime requiring parliamentary intervention”.

In addition, the Federal Court rejected the Commissioner’s “novel and unnecessary requirement for patentability” that what has been added to human knowledge must be technological in nature.  “There is no reference to such a test in the Canadian jurisprudence (or none was advanced in this Court). It was not within the Commissioner’s jurisdiction to introduce one.” “Technology is in such a state of flux that to attempt to define it would serve to defeat the flexibility which is so crucial to the Act.”

Please note that the decision has been appealed.

Please do not hesitate to contact the author should you have any further questions regarding this decision.