Communications Privilege Extended to Patent and Trademark Agents in Canada14/07/2015
Bill C-59, the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No 1, received Royal Assent on June 23, 2015 and has passed into law. The Bill presents amendments which introduce several changes to the Patent Act, Trademarks Act and Industrial Design Act.
The most significant amendment introduces a statutory privilege to confidential communications between applicants and their patent or trademark agents. Such communications will remain confidential if they are made between an agent and their client, are intended to be confidential and are made for the purpose of seeking advice with respect to any matter relating to the protection of an invention or trademark. These privileged communications are exempt from disclosure in an action or proceeding.
The privilege is scheduled to come into effect on June 24, 2016 and will apply retroactively to communications which have remained confidential and are not subject to a proceeding which commenced prior to the date the legislation came into force.
Changes to all three acts will additionally allow for extensions of time to be granted in response to force majeure events and will grant the Canadian Intellectual Property Office authority to correct obvious errors in submitted documents, although regulations governing these corrections have yet to be drafted.