Canada on USTR watchlist for “serious concerns” about pharmaceutical patent process

Canada has been placed on the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) watch list for 2013 due to “serious concerns” about the treatment of pharmaceutical patents, including the “availability of rights of appeal” and “heightened utility requirements.”

The USTR report, released May 1, is based on an annual review of the state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement in US trading partners around world.

According to Norton Rose Canada IP specialists Jason Markwell and Patrick Kierans, who wrote a brief about the report (USTR Slams Canada over the Treatment of Pharmaceutical Patents):

Canada will remain on the USTR “Watch List” and its reputation for adequate and effective IPR protection and enforcement will continue to wane unless:

(a) the Canadian Government addresses the concerns raised by the USTR related to the treatment of pharmaceutical patents;

or (b) the Courts interpret the Patent Act in a manner that is consistent with NAFTA, which IP provisions were also included in TRIPS [Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights — agreements of the World Trade Organization].

The recent Supreme Court of Canada interpretation of the Patent Act as it relates to Viagra, is summarized in Lexpert’s May issue. It is available on our Big Suits database or the digital edition.

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