International IP protection made easier: Learn about the Five IP Treaties that Canada has joined

For Canadian businesses looking to enter new global markets or expand their presence in them, the Government of Canada’s implementation of five international treaties will help.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) set a key priority to advance innovation, in part by harmonizing IP administrative procedures. To do this, Canada has joined five IP treaties on patents, trademarks and industrial designs since 2018:

– The Hague Agreement for industrial designs, which came into force on November 5, 2018;

– The Madrid Protocol, the Nice Agreement and the Singapore Treaty for trademarks, which came into force in June 2019;

– The Patent Law Treaty, which came into force on October 30, 2019.

These five treaties connect Canada’s IP system to the world. They help Canadian businesses secure reliable, high-quality IP rights more easily in multiple countries and markets. They also attract foreign investment to Canada by making it easier to file for IP rights here.

For industrial designs: The Hague Agreement

The Hague Agreement allows industrial design applicants to register up to 100 industrial designs in multiple jurisdictions using a single application, language and currency, through a process administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This means Canadian enterprises have access to a simpler, faster and more effective way to protect their industrial designs around the world.

Under the Hague System, Canada’s industrial design regime now aligns with key trading partners, which means increased term of protection to up to 15 years, and less red tape through simpler filing and application requirements. Since its accession in November of 2018, Canada has been designated in over 1,161 international industrial design applications, containing over 2,408 designs, as of December 31, 2019.

Learn how to apply for registration using the Hague System.

For trademarks: The Madrid Protocol, the Nice Agreement and the Singapore Treaty

Canada’s accession to the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty and the Nice Agreement allows businesses to apply for trademark protection in more than 120 countries with a single application and pay one time in one currency. This system benefits innovators looking to protect and leverage their trademarks abroad and will help drive long-term economic success. To enable accession to these treaties, Canada made amendments to the Trademarks Act and adopted new regulations. The changes represent some of the most important reforms to the trademark regime in decades.

Canada is the first country to use WIPO’s Madrid eFiling platform since the day of accession. This platform is the most efficient way for receiving international trademark applications. We are also the first country to have acceded to the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty and the Nice Agreement on the same day.

Since the date of implementation (June 17, 2019), Canada has been designated in 10,201 international registrations and received 308 applications for international registration as an office of origin, as of January 2020.

Learn how to file an application for international registration under the Madrid Protocol.

For patents: The Patent Law Treaty

This treaty aims to harmonize administrative procedures and reduce administrative burden with IP Offices other than Canada. It provides a simpler and more efficient process to secure a filing date, reduces red tape, and provides notification to avoid loss of rights, among other changes. 

On October 30, 2019, Canada officially ratified the Patent Law Treaty when amendments to the Patent Act and Patent Rules came into force. By harmonizing and streamlining patent administrative procedures with other intellectual property offices, these new Rules ensure that Canada’s patent regime is responsive to the needs of inventors, businesses and the public.

Learn about the Patent Law Treaty in Canada.

Written by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)

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