Message from the President about Federal Budget 2015
Dear IPIC Members,
I am very pleased to report that the Federal Government’s 2015 Budget, delivered today, proposes significant improvements in Canada’s intellectual property framework, protecting the confidential communications between innovators and their IP advisors from forced disclosure in litigation and providing the Canadian Intellectual Property Office with the ability to extend deadlines in cases of force majeure events.
Providing a statutory privilege for IP advisor-client communications is consistent with initiatives on this issue taken by many of Canada’s most important trading partners and leading innovative economies. With this, Canadian businesses are better assured that they can speak openly with their intellectual property advisors in order to obtain the best possible advice, knowing that these conversations will not be revealed to their competitors through a court process or litigation. Protecting such confidential communications will allow Canadian businesses to be more competitive in Canada and overseas, driving economic growth and creating jobs for Canadians.
IPIC has advocated legislation to confer a statutory privilege for IP advisor-client communications for more than 15 years. I am pleased to see this initiative now moving towards fruition, and look forward to seeing the Government’s proposal in the form of a Bill in Parliament.
Allowing the Canadian Intellectual Property Office the ability to extend deadlines in cases of force majeure events will help avoid unintentional loss of IP rights where, for example, floods or ice storms prevent the timely filing of documents with the Office. This is another initiative that IPIC has advocated with the Government and I am again pleased to see this progress and look forward to proposed legislation.
On behalf of IPIC Council, I would like to thank the Self-Governance Committee for their tremendous work throughout the years in advocating for the protection of confidentiality in communications, including Past Presidents Joan Van Zant (Chair), Steven Garland (Vice-Chair), Carol Hitchman, Jeffrey Astle, and Robert Mitchell and the many other IPIC members who have worked tirelessly to get to where we are today. Thanks to your support, we have in support of this issue, the issue of force majeure loss of rights, amongst others, held over 50 meetings between representatives of IPIC and MPs, sent over 25 letters of support by companies, university tech transfer offices, associations, and law/IP firms, held a press conference on Parliament Hill, sent submissions to government, and more.
Although I am hopeful that there will be further favourable news to report in short order, this is of course dependent on the progress of the legislative process.