- Patent Act (Canada)
The Patent Act is the Canadian
Act of Parliamentthat governs the patent law in Canada. It states what can be patented and how patents are to be obtained. The Patent Act also governs the Patent Office and limits the power and responsibility of the Commissionaire of Patents. [http://csc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/2002/2002scc76/2002scc76.html Supreme Court of Canada - Decisions - Harvard College v. Canada (Commissioner of Patents) ] ]
The purpose of patents is to protect inventions of inventors or their appointees and legal representatives. Patents provide exclusive right to produce and distribute a patented invention. [http://www.trytel.com/~pbkerr/patent.html Patent Law in Canada ] ]
These restrictions form a system of encouraging economic and technical growth. The patent is contract between the inventor and the government who represents society. The inventor obtains a monopoly limited by to a 20 year term over producing and selling the patent. Society gains disclosure of the invention and free use of it after the patent expires.http://cbac-cccb.ca/epic/site/cbac-cccb.nsf/vwapj/Duy_CdnPatents_e.pdf/$FILE/Duy_CdnPatents_e.pdf]
It wasn't until the passing of the British North America Act and the creation of the nation of Canada that the first federal Patent Act was created. The first patent act was created as a part of the British North America Act in 1869. This act granted patents for a term of 15 years, divided into 3 five year periods.
Patents are extended from 18 to 20 years as a result of a WTO ruling that 18 year patents violate TRIPS requirements in 2001. [http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/en/wr00725e.html Canadian Intellectual Property Office - Government Of Canada brings Patent Act into conformity with obligations under the World Trade Organization ] ]
Applicable Subject Matter
Patents apply to physical inventions and process, but not literary works, most software and other forms of intellectual property. For more information see
Patentable subject matter#Canada.
It is the responsibility of the patent holder to enforce the patents they hold. This is down by taking potential violations to court to determine if the patent has been violated and obtain compensation. Court action can be very expensive and can deter people from enforcing their patents. Top Research and Development firms report an average expense per case of $370,000. Since bill C-91 was passed in 1993, most patent cases have been heard in Federal Court.
Notable Patent Cases
A notable case involving the Canadian Patent Act is Canada vs Harvard College. This case revolved around the patentability genetic engineering of higher life forms, and is also known as the Harvard Mouse case
oncomouse. In this case an initial patent on the genes was rejected. The supreme court also gave parliament the responsibility to decide if higher life forms can be patented,"neither the Commissioner of Patents nor the courts have the authority to declare a moratorium on “higher” life patents until Parliament chooses to act."
References and Notes
Bill C-9- Jean ChrétienPledge to Africa Act
Pledge to Africa Act
Manual of Patent Office Practice" (MOPOP)
Canadian patent law
* [http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/P-4/index.html Patent Act text]
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