There be dragons ahead – Canada joins the Patent Law Treaty24/05/2019
The Patent Law Treaty harmonizes and streamlines procedures before patent offices in member countries. Although Canada signed the PLT on May 21, 2001, its implementation in Canada was delayed until a series of wide-ranging intellectual property reforms were begun in 2014.
With public consultations now concluded, Canada is poised to ratify the PLT this fall, at which point various amendments to the Patent Act and Patent Rules will come into force. For applicants, these changes represent a mixed bag.
As intended under the PLT, many of these upcoming changes will simplify procedural requirements at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. For example:
- Filing requirements will be simplified in various ways, making it easier to obtain a timely filing date in Canada;
- The filing deadline for priority claims will be extended to 14 months, if the applicant can show that its failure to meet the usual 12-month deadline was unintentional and a request for restoration is made within two months of filing;
- It will be possible to correct an “obvious error” in a patent document where something other than what appears in the patent was intended, which should provide greater latitude than the existing system for “clerical errors”;
- Supporting documentation will no longer be required for changes in name or ownership, provided the request originates from the patentee;