Update on Blacklock’s Mega Motion of December 12, 2018.
The hearing of Blacklock’s 3000 page mega motion in its copyright infringement action against the Attorney General took place on December 12, 2018. Howard Knopf attended . Click here for Howard’s overall impression.
Plant Breeders’ Rights for Cannabis in Canada.
On October 17, 2018, recreational marijuana became legal across Canada, joining the already legal medicinal marijuana. As a result, many individuals and companies are keen to create new varieties of Cannabis for sale and are interested in protecting these new varieties.
However, there are still no definite rules for the examination and evaluation of these varieties, and many questions surrounding how this can be done, considering that cannabis is still prohibited in most countries. Even in Canada there are numerous restrictions. In fact, since marijuana has its circulation or transportation banned, many breeders are choosing to do asexual reproduction rather than seed propagation. In light of that, Ashley Chu and Eduardo Fonseca have prepared an article addressing important information about the current scenario of protection and problems and possible solutions for current and future breeders.
The article has been published by the CIOPORA, the International Community of Breeders of Asexually Reproduced Ornamental and Fruit Plants, on its website. CIOPORA is the most important Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) / Plant variety protection (PVP) association bringing together 125 plant breeders, national breeder associations, patent attorneys and Intellectual Property consultants from 25 countries. The article will also be included into the next newsletter issue for all members.
You can read and download the publication here: https://www.ciopora.org/single-post/2018/12/12/Canada-Road-to-Plant-Breeders%E2%80%99-Rights-for-Cannabis
Moffat & Co. are happy to participate in the Elgin Street Courthouse Angel Program again in 2018! The gifts are for needy children in our community.
Moffat & Co. was honoured to co-host a dinner reception with the Consul General of Canada, Mrs. Evelyne Coulombe, at her Official Residence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 30, 2018.
The reception took place a few days after the Inter American Intellectual Property Association (ASIPI) annual meeting, also held in Rio, which was attended by our partners Eduardo Fonseca and James Palmer. The dinner was a great opportunity to celebrate with the firms and companies from Rio who have entrusted their business to our firm. It was also a chance for all the participants to discuss future cooperation and partnerships. The Canadian Consulate in Rio is very active in the development of business relations between Canadian and Brazilian entrepreneurs. Moffat & Co. is pleased and proud to successfully assist these entrepreneurs and we hope that these partnerships endure.
Follow Up on Bill C-86 – The Omnibus Bill that Amends Canadian IP Law.
Bill C-86 has already been given second reading and is at the Finance Committee of the House of Commons. Yesterday, November 7, 2018, in the Finance Committee, there were about 10 minutes in total testimony by Grant Lynds, past President of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada …
Massive Canadian IP Law Reform in a Budget Bill – Throwing Parliamentary Scrutiny Under the Omnibus Bus with Bill C-86.
Bill C-86, which was given first reading on October 29, 2018, is 884 pages long. It is an omnibus budget implementation bill that touches innumerable unrelated issues and amends dozens of acts …
On September 14, 2018 the Supreme Court of Canada held that An ISP can recover its costs of compliance with a Norwich order, but it is not entitled to be compensated for every cost that it incurs in complying with such an order. Recoverable costs must be reasonable and must arise from compliance with the Norwich order. Where costs should have been borne by an ISP in performing its statutory obligations under the notice and notice regime, these costs cannot be characterized as either reasonable or as arising from compliance with a Norwich order, and cannot be recovered.
Two New Copyright Board Appointments: Nathalie Théberge and Adriane Porcin.
More from Howard Knopf On Mass Copyright Litigation in Canada – Part II.
American NAFTA Inconsistency Re Copyright Term Extension – And Why This Issue Matters Bigly & Involves Billions.
More from Howard Knopf On Mass Copyright Litigation in Canada – Part I.
James Palmer has prepared a discussion paper on how upcoming changes to the Trademarks Act may impact dealings with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), titled A Modernized Trademark Regime for Canada. The following is brief excerpt from the introduction:
In 1954 Canada brought into force the current Trademarks Act that broke with many of Canada’s longstanding traditions concerning the registration of trademarks. One of the more controversial changes was the acceptance of applications based on proposed use! After more than 60 years of loyal service to Canadians the venerable ‘54 Act is about to be retired and replaced with an Act that will again shake up the trademark community.
After years of extensive consultations with industry, trademark owners and trademark practitioners, a new Trademarks Act was adopted in 2014 thereby completing the first stage of modernizing the Canadian trademark system.
Stage two of this process was completed earlier this year with the release of a draft of a new Trademarks Regulations. The goal is to complete final revisions this summer and have a final version ready for adoption in the fall of 2018.
The final stage of this transition will be an upgrade of the Trademarks Office IT system which is required to handle the very significant changes that the modernized trademark system will introduce. CIPO has recently made it known that the new Act and Regulations are to be implemented in early 2019 however, the specific date will remain a mystery until CIPO completes the update of the IT System.
In addition to the implementation of a new Trademarks Act and Regulations, Canada will implement the Madrid Protocol, adopt the NICE Classification System and adhere to the Singapore Treaty.
The full paper is available here.
EXCESS COPYRIGHT: Some Notes from Howard Knopf About Recent Developments at the Copyright Board of Canada – click Learn More
Macera & Jarzyna LLP Celebrates 40 Years in Business.
It was July 1978 when Andy Jarzyna and John Macera got together and opened shop in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. Since then, Macera & Jarzyna LLP has become known internationally and at home for its excellence and specialization in Intellectual Property.
Andy Jarzyna (1978) John Macera
Macera & Jarzyna, LLP is a firm of barristers and solicitors, specializing in Intellectual Property disputes and litigation. The firm works side by side with Moffat & Co., a firm of patent and trademark agents, specializing in the preparation, filing and prosecution of Patent, Trademark, Industrial Design, Copyright and Plant Breeders Rights applications in Canada and around the world. Macera & Jarzyna, LLP has developed a reputation as one of the country’s leading intellectual property boutiques. Congratulations Macera & Jarzyna LLP. Job well done.
Mediatube Corp. v. Bell Canada – Federal Court of Appeal – A company called Media Tube sued Bell Canada for patent infringement with respect to technology pertaining to Bell Fibe TV. Bereskin & Parr acted for Media Tube. Media Tube lost at trial (decision dated January 4, 2017) and appealed.
On its appeal, Media Tube (now represented by Aitken Klee) tried to amend its notice of appeal to add “ineffective assistance by trial counsel” as a ground of appeal. According to Media Tube, Bereskin was concurrently acting for Microsoft whose software was used in the allegedly infringing system used by Bell. This apparent conflict caused Bereskin to “pull its punches” in its representation of Media Tube in order to avoid harming the business interests of Microsoft and advance those of Bereskin (keeping Microsoft happy as a client). Or so Media Tube claims.
Media Tube also sought discovery of Bereskin & Parr in order to ascertain the full extent of the conflict.
The Court of Appeal (Justice Stratas), on June 26, 2018, dismissed Media Tube’s motion. Ineffective assistance of counsel is sometimes used in a criminal context – it is exceptionally rare to be found in civil cases. Media Tube needed to show:(1) the existence of an actual (not “apparent”) conflict and (2) and that the conflict adversely affected counsel’s performance at trial – it is not necessary to show that the outcome would have been different.
Here, Bereskin had filed trademark applications for Microsoft. Justice Stratas was not satisfied that trial counsel knew of this work or that it would have been enough to constitute an actual conflict.
In answer to Media Tube’s complaint that it needed to discover Bereskin in order to get all of the details, the judge observed (not surprisingly) that there is no provision for discovery before an appellate court. He went on to say that Media Tube still had the option of suing Bereskin “for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, or both in the provincial superior court” where full discovery would be available. If Media Tube succeeded, it could recover from Bereskin (or its insurers) any amounts awarded against Media Tube in the Federal Court action and/or seek to have the Federal Court judgment set aside.
It can be inferred, from the judge’s reasons, that Media Tube was floating what I would call “a tinfoil hat conspiracy”, but there is still an embarrassment factor/PR problem for Bereskin in all of this, not to mention the risk that MediaTube will also sue them in the Ontario courts.
The judgment is here:
Review prepared by – Susan Beaubien
From May 28 to June 1, 2018, Howard Knopf attended the 36th World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights held in Geneva, Switzerland on behalf of the Civil Society Coalition. Howard made the following submissions – one – two.
On June 19, 2018, Howard Knopf and Joe Ulvr attended Canada in International Law: At the Inflection Point, sponsored by The Centre for International Governance Innovation. The conference explored the challenges Canada faces in contributing to shaping global rule of law. The conference coincided with the launch of CIGI’s latest publication Reflections on Canada’s Past, Present and Future in International Law in which Howard Knopf contributed a chapter.
On June 28, 2018, Susan Beaubien was elected to the Board of Directors of the Canadian chapter of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). ICJ is an international NGO headquartered in Geneva whose mission is promotion of the rule of law, human rights and the independence of the legal profession. The Canadian chapter of the ICJ operates from the University of Ottawa and draws its members and volunteers from the legal profession across Canada. ICJ Canada provides legal expertise at both the international and national levels to ensure that developments in international law adhere to human rights principles and that international standards are implemented at the national level.
On May 5, 2018, Howard Knopf gave a talk titled “Copyright: Upcoming Changes and What You Need to Know”, at the Artists’ Legal Services Ottawa (ALSO) Arts Law Conference held at Arts Court. Howard focused on the Government’s review of the Copyright Act and the Copyright Board – What’s at Stake. Howard’s blog post is here. The slides for his talk can be found here.
Howard Knopf’s recent paper titled “Canada’s Role in the Relationship of Trade and Intellectual Property” has been published as Paper #17 in the series “Canada in International Law at 150 and Beyond” by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (“CIGIO”). You can view the paper by clicking Learn More.
Diagnostic methods cause controversy at CIPO – Read Jerome Bastien’s blog post on the recently published policy of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) on patent applications for medical diagnostic methods, which has been the subject of criticism. The English translation is available at this LINK.
Legally Speaking with Jerome Bastien – On March 1, 2018, Jerome Bastien appeared on the podcast “Legally Speaking with Lawyer Kristen O’Keef”. Jerome discusses the importance of securing patents and trademarks to protect valuable intellectual property rights. The podcast can be accessed at this LINK.
Susan Beaubien has been appointed by the Government of Canada to the roster of qualified individuals to determine disputes arising under Chapter 19 of the North America Free Trade Act (NAFTA) . Members of the roster may be appointed to serve on dispute settlement panels established under Chapter 19 of NAFTA. The appointment is effected by way of Regulations to the Special Import Measures Act. Congratulations, Susan!”
Riches, McKenzie & Herbert LLP v. Cosmetic Warriors Limited, 2018 FC 63 (Justice Manson)
Cosmetic Warriors Limited (“Cosmetic”) owes a trademark registration (TMA649810) for the word LUSH, for use in association with “Clothing, namely, t-shirts”. On September 10, 2014, at the request of Riches, McKenzie & Herbert LLP, the Registrar of Trade-marks issued a Notice pursuant to section 45 of the Trade-marks Act, requesting that Cosmetic show that the trademark was in use in Canada in the three-year period before issuance of the Notice.
In Canada, Cosmetic licenses the LUSH trademark to Lush Handmade Cosmetics, Ltd. (“Lush Canada”). Lush Canada operates 46 stores in Canada, but is not in the business of selling t-shirts. Rather, it is a retailer of cosmetic products and related services such as hair dressing and beauty salon services.
According to the evidence filed by Cosmetic, employees of Lush Canada wear t-shirts bearing the trademark as part of their uniform. The t-shirts are also available to employees for purchase, both for themselves and as gifts for family and friends. The evidence showed sales of the t-shirts to Lush Canada employees in excess of $1200 CDN during the relevant period. The t-shirts were also exported to the United States and sold to Cosmetic employees in the U.S. Sales in the U.S. exceeded $2900 USD. T-shirts bearing the trade-mark were also sold in support of environmentalist campaigns.
The Registrar found that the t-shirts were not merely uniforms and that the evidence suggested that employees had purchased t-shirts to give to third parties. Even though the t-shirts were not sold for profit and were purchased from the supplier along with other “assorted swag” (as indicated on the invoice), the Registrar found that the Respondent had established use of the trademark within the Relevant Period within the meaning of section 4(1) of the Act. With respect to the t-shirts exported and sold to Cosmetic’s U.S. employees, the Registrar found that such sales constituted use under section 4(3) of the Act.
On appeal to the Federal Court, Justice Manson, considered whether the “normal course of trade” requirement in the definition of use in section 4(1) required transfer of the marked goods for profit. Justice Manson noted that it was clear in the law that promotional goods distributed free of charge per se do not meet the requirements of section 4(1) of the Act. However, if such distribution is part of an overall course of action for a business, carried out for the purpose of deriving profits and developing goodwill for the goods, it may constitute use in the normal course of that business, particularly if the goods freely distributed are the goods in which the business normally deals. However, in this case, Justice Manson noted that the t-shirts were sold at cost for promotional purposes to employees only, to generate goodwill in the owner’s cosmetics business. Such sales cannot be said to be in the normal course of trade to satisfy use under section 4(1) of the Act. Given the absence of profit, the promotional and de minimis nature of the sales to employees, and the fact that Cosmetic is not in the business of selling clothing, Justice Manson found the Registrar’s decision to be unreasonable.
Justice Manson also noted that the Registrar’s refusal to draw a negative inference from Cosmetic’s own evidence showing that the t-shirts were purchased from the manufacture along with other “assorted swag” was an error. Such evidence ought to have been considered.
Finally, Justice Manson considered whether the requirements for use in sections 4(1) and 4(3) are the same. The latter provision was enacted to protect entities whose trading activities were bona fide commercial, but who could not meet the use requirements in section 4(1) as their activities were exclusively outside Canada. In this case, Justice Manson found that since the Respondent’s activities in Canada do not establish use of a trademark, those same activities in the United States do not rise to the level of use simply because an export has taken place. A party cannot be allowed to make an end run around the normal requirements of the Act by merely shipping a product across the border.
The appeal was allowed and the mark will be expunged from the Register.
The decision is available at the following link:
Summary prepared by Barry Hutsel.
Teva Canada Limited v Pfizer Canada Inc., 2017 FC 957 (Zinn J).
Teva and Pfizer have been in litigation regarding Pfizer’s 1998 patent on its Viagra (sildenafil citrate) pharmaceutical since 2007. In 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the patent was invalid for inadequate disclosure. Now, Teva seeks compensation for damages it suffered as a consequence of not being able to market its own sildenafil citrate tablets.
Subsequent to Teva’s Reply to Pfizer’s Statement of Defence and Counterclaim and subsequent Examinations for Discovery, Pfizer wished to amend its Statement of Defence and Counterclaim.
Pfizer wrote to Teva requesting consent to amend its pleadings and providing Teva with copies of both the old and new Motion Records. Teva responded by granting the request. Teva further noted that the new Motion Record included confidential transcripts which ought not to have been included. However, since it granted the request for consent, Teva felt that the content of the Motion Record was a moot issue.
Notwithstanding the consent, “Pfizer, for reasons that appear to be in the nature of some tactical advantage, filed its motion.” Teva responded and brought a cross-motion to amend the Motion Record to remove the allegedly confidential information. The whole process ultimately cost the parties and the Court great expense, including an urgent case management conference and three hours for the hearing of the motions, all of which the Court notes occupied the time of four counsel, a Court Registrar, and the Judge.
When Justice Zinn asked Pfizer’s counsel why it had brought a motion for leave despite having consent, Pfizer provided no satisfactory response. The Court found that this was an “abuse of this Court’s processes and procedures, and unnecessary.”
The Court also found that Teva’s withdrawal of its previous “unequivocal and unconditional consent” was a waste of the Court’s time.
Justice Zinn stated that his impression of this ordeal is best captured in the line “A plague o’ both your houses” from Romeo and Juliet. He further noted that his “only regret is that I am unable to order both parties to pay costs to the Court for its losses.”
The Court ordered that Pfizer’s amended Statement of Defence be accepted for filing and that all documents filed by either of the parties relating to both motions be returned to the parties and that the Judge’s copy be destroyed.
Read the case here – http://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fc-cf/decisions/en/item/300801/index.do
Prepared by Scott Tremblay.
In a light hearted, but forceful attempt to strengthen its brand and avoid the “generic” label, the Belgium company that owns the VELCRO trademark, Velcro BVBA, has produced a video that seeks to educate the public on how to use – and not to use – the trademarks of well-known products, including its own. The video reminds consumers that when they use such well-known trademarks as CLOROX, or BANDAIDE, or ROLLERBLADE … or VELCRO, to refer to a products that do not originate from the trademark owner, they are doing damage to the brands, and urges consumers to stop the practice. There is also a subtle message in the video, that if you use the trademarks to pass-off on the reputation of the brand owners, you might find yourself in trouble with their trademark attorneys.
The video can be viewed at the following link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRi8LptvFZY
Entry prepared by Barry Hutsel.