Author: Mark Penner

Mark Penner

About Mark Penner

Mark D. Penner’s practice focuses on all aspects of the acquisition, protection, enforcement and strategic use of a wide range of intellectual property assets in Canada and around the world.

Concerned About Patent Deadlines During the COVID-19 Pandemic? The Canadian Intellectual Property Office Offers An FAQ Page

The rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic continues to have a significant impact on intellectual property rights holders in Canada and around the world.  As noted in our most recent IP bulletin, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) recently announced that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, March 16, 2020 to March 31, 2020 inclusive will be considered “designated days” under the applicable Canadian intellectual property legislation. This means that if a CIPO deadline under the Patent Act, Trademarks Act and/or Industrial Design Act falls on any of these “designated days”, the time period to respond will be extended to the next business day (e.g. April 1st, 2020).

To assist those having or seeking patent rights in Canada, CIPO has now prepared a series of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) regarding the COVID-19 service interruptions and patent prosecution matters before CIPO. Information on service interruptions with respect to the Trademarks Opposition Board (“TMOB”) can be found here.

CIPO is careful to point out that the answers provided are only a guide and should not be considered legally binding.  CIPO recommends that everyone consult a registered patent agent who can advise on any specific situation.  Anyone concerned about Canadian patent prosecution deadlines should review all of the FAQs provided on the CIPO website and consult a Canadian patent agent as applicable.

To that end, Fasken’s IP group is taking steps to ensure continuity of our services to our clients over this period, largely by working remotely. 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.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office Extends Deadlines Until April 1st due to the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is having a significant impact on our personal lives, our countries and our economies!  Canada’s Intellectual Property Office is no exception.  While the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) currently remains open and in operation, significant delays in all CIPO services should be expected.  

More importantly, CIPO has, on account of the unforeseen circumstances resulting from COVID-19, recently announced that for now March 16, 2020 to March 31, 2020 inclusive will be considered “designated days” under the applicable Canadian intellectual property legislation. This means that if a CIPO deadline under the Patent Act, Trademarks Act and/or Industrial Design Act falls on any of these “designated days”, the time period to respond will be extended to the next business day (e.g. April 1st, 2020).  CIPO has also indicated that, if the circumstances that led to this designation continues, CIPO may decide to extend the applicable time period.   CIPO’s decision coincides with fee, rule and procedural accommodations by other intellectual property offices, including the EU Intellectual Property Office and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Fasken’s IP group is taking 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.

SUSSEX ROYAL Trademark in Canada: Safe Heaven, But Maybe Not for Royal Trademarks

The past two months have been marked by unprecedented turmoil for the British royal family, after the announcement by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, that they would step down as senior members of the royal family and entertain their own financial independence. Under a new working arrangement, they will be free to earn professional income and will have more liberty to pursue their charitable endeavours. Further details on the specific arrangements can be found here.

In anticipation of their new projects, a trademark application and a domain name registration for SUSSEX ROYAL had been sought in the UK. Following a recent intervention by Her Majesty the Queen herself, however, the use of the term “royal” has now been disallowed. Since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would no longer be serving as “royal” members and representatives, as they gave up their royal duties, then there was no justification for them to further use this term. The UK trademark application for SUSSEX ROYAL was thereby withdrawn.

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IP Strategies for the Cannabis Industry

How the Canadian cannabis industry has sparked interest in one of the lesser known IP rights

Introduction

Intellectual Property (“IP”) typically provides a significant commercial advantage in the marketplace.  With the legalization of cannabis in Canada in 2018 and increasing competition among cannabis producers, the cannabis industry has been exploring ways to protect its cash crop.  Given that proprietary varieties of cannabis plants are highly valued in the cannabis industry, a lesser known and very specific type of IP right called Plant Breeders’ Rights (“PBR”) may see a rise in prominence.  Cannabis producers would be well advised to consider how PBR can be used to protect their commercially valuable proprietary varieties and supplement their existing IP arsenal.

PBR Eligibility and Scope of Protection

The federal Plant Breeders’ Rights Act enables the protection of a plant variety where that variety is:

  1. new, in that its propagating or harvested material has not been sold by or with the concurrence of the breeder inside or outside Canada within a prescribed time period (either one, four, or six years) before the filing date of the application;
  2. by reason of its identifiable characteristics, it is clearly distinguishable from all varieties whose existence is a matter of common knowledge at the filing date of the application;
  3. stable in its essential characteristics, in that after repeated propagation it remains true to its description; and
  4. having regard to the particular features of its sexual reproduction or vegetative propagation, it is sufficiently homogeneous (i.e. in the event of sexual reproduction or vegetative propagation in substantial quantities, any variations in characteristics are predictable, capable of being described, and commercially acceptable).
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Fasken and IPIC hold Seminar on Patenting Artificial Intelligence

On November 13, 2019, the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) and Fasken held a webinar on advanced patent prosecution strategies for patenting artificial intelligence (AI) related inventions.

Isi Caulder from Bereskin & Parr and I spoke on a number of topics including:

• AI Industry Trends to Watch
• Claiming Strategies
• Satisfying Subject Matter and Enablement Requirements
• AI Patenting Considerations in Canada, the U.S. and Europe
• Enforcement Considerations and Trends

Hosted in the Toronto office of Fasken, the seminar was webcast to Fasken’s Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver offices. The aim of the seminar was to provide attendees with understanding and insight into intellectual property (IP) and patent prosecution strategies for AI-based systems while considering the evolving subject matter/enablement landscape and current enforcement trends. We also considered more esoteric topics such as whether AI-based systems could be considered inventors under the patent system.

If you are interested in AI and IP law, please reach out for more information as any of the participants would be more than happy to discuss this ever changing area with you.