Canadian IP law leaves room for improvement

Sluggish and antiquated process have made Canada one of the most consistently lacking countries in adequate IP protection

Canada has been on the Special 301 Report -- a report listing the countries that fail to adequately set in place intellectual property protection legislation -- for 23 of the 25 years that the report has existed, according to the Ottawa Citizen. For as many acclaims as the country has received in public health and education -- to name two -- it has historically lacked in the department of protecting IP, putting it on par with some emerging markets that are less economically stable and working on enhancing IP regulations.

Efforts in the past on the part of legislators have not come up to snuff for Canadian innovations -- markedly concerning the "promise doctrine" or the rule that an invention intended for patent must have some useful purpose and deliver the utility specified by the sought-after patent. This doctrine has failed some patent-seekers because the usefulness of various inventions could not be determined by the date set for patent filing of the inventor. Clearly, the process needs to be revised, but it is one of the ways in which Canada's system inhibits innovation rather than encourages it. 

Contributing Author

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Juliana Kenny

Juliana Kenny is a contributor to, covering a range of topics including patent litigation, conflict mineral laws, executive compensation, and antitrust regulation. Juliana earned B.A.s...

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