Today, April 26th, is World Intellectual Property Day. This year’s theme is shining a light on the critical role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the economy and how they can use intellectual property (“IP”) to build stronger, more competitive and resilient businesses.
On April 19th, 2021, the Canadian government released its first budget under the COVID pandemic (“Budget 2021”). Budget 2021 addresses the Government of Canada’s fight against COVID-19 and its desire to ensure a robust economic recovery. As part of the latter, Canada is investing in innovation.
As the most highly educated country in the OECD, Canada is full of innovative and entrepreneurial people with great ideas. Those ideas are valuable intellectual property that are the seeds of huge growth opportunities. Building on the National Intellectual Property Strategy announced back in 2018, the government proposed further support to Canadian innovators, start-ups, and technology-intensive businesses.
Budget 2021 proposed the following
$90 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to create ElevateIP, a program to help accelerators and incubators provide start-ups with access to expert intellectual property services.
$75 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, for the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program to provide high-growth client firms with access to expert intellectual property services.
These direct investments would be complemented by a Strategic Intellectual Property Program Review that will be launched. It is intended as a broad assessment of intellectual property provisions in Canada’s innovation and science programming, from basic research to near-commercial projects. This work will make sure Canada and Canadians fully benefit from innovations and intellectual property.
In Part One of our series on protecting individuals’ images after their death, we examined the privacy rights that govern the use of these ‘zombie’ celebrities, just in time for Halloween. We considered what privacy rights attach to dead celebrities, and whether these rights can be exercised by their estates/heirs. In this Part Two, we will consider what intellectual property rights could govern this so-called resurrection of dead celebrities!
As you will recall from Part One, it is not surprising that movies and concerts are reaching back to long dead stars to “perform” for audiences. What intellectual property rights govern the resurrection of a dead celebrity? If property rights are the best way for a deceased’s heirs to protect the image of the deceased, how can the “property” regime of intellectual property rights assist?
There are a number of statutory IP regimes as well as common law causes of action which can allow online influencers and the estates of deceased celebrities to control and monetize these valuable assets and continue to monetize as technology allows them to do so.
James Dean could soon be starring in a new movie, over 60 years after his death! In what would be his fourth movie role, Dean’s image could be superimposed on a live actor for the film Finding Jack. Animating deceased celebrities is not new however: a holographic image of deceased musician Tupac Shakur debuted at the CochellaTM music festival as far back as 2012.
Possible through the magic of computer technology, it would seem that deceased celebrities are as popular as ever and still command significant attention. It is not surprising that movies and concerts are reaching back to long dead stars to “perform” for audiences. There will likely be no new scandals with these celebrities and they can be made to do whatever the creators have in mind without any “diva” pushback. While not everyone welcomes these developments, it will likely become more common as the technology continues to improve.
However, “employing” such “zombie” celebrities raises fascinating new legal issues, in particular in the areas of privacy law, and intellectual property law.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) has announced that many of its fees for Canadian trademarks, patents, industrial designs, and integrated circuit topographies will increase on January 1, 2021. Among the fees being increased by 2% are those for an application to register a trademark as well as examination of patent and industrial design applications. A full list of the adjusted fees can be found in the links above or on the CIPO website.
The CIPO website should be consulted for an up-to-date listing of the adjusted fees because the applicable Tariff of Fees in the Patent Rules may not yet be updated. Whether the current fee or the adjusted fee must be paid for a given service will depend on the date on which the fee is received by CIPO, not the date on which the service is requested.
Fasken’s team of experienced intellectual property lawyers, patent agents, and trademark agents would be pleased to assist you with any and all CIPO matters.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) has extended its final extension of the deadlines under the Patent Act, Trademarks Act and/or Industrial Design Act as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. As we reported previously, March 16th to August 21st were considered “designated days” under the applicable Canadian intellectual property legislation; the time to respond to certain CIPO actions therefore had been previously extended to August 24th.
On August 19th, CIPO announced that August 24th, 2020 to August 28th, 2020 inclusive will also be considered “designated days”. This means that the time period to respond may now be extended to the next business day, namely August 31st, 2020. Due to the online and fax service interruptions taking place from August 21 to August 23, CIPO decided to extend the final extension to provide additional flexibility to its clients.
While the above noted designations by CIPO apply to most, but possibly not all, due dates that originate with CIPO, it is likely that obligations under international treaties and/or conventions, such as the Paris Convention and the Patent Cooperation Treaty, may still apply and must be complied with accordingly. As such, any action(s) required to be taken in Canada between now and August 28th should be taken on or before the applicable date or discussed with a Canadian patent agent in order to ensure all rights in Canada and abroad are maintained.
While this is the final extension of designated days, clients may still face challenges related to the pandemic. IP specific extensions of time may be available under the applicable Canadian IP statues and/or regulations. Some deadlines, however, cannot be extended, and others have prescribed limits to any available extensions.
Fasken’s IP group continues to take steps to ensure continuity of our services to our clients over this period, largely by working remotely. As CIPO’s online solutions are available 24/7 and from anywhere, we are available to continue to assist our clients during this period. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, should you need assistance. In the meantime, we will continue to keep you informed of any developments as they occur.