Canadian anti-counterfeit bill re-introduced

Canadian maple leavesA bill aimed at strengthening protection of trademark and copyright owners has been re-introduced in Canada's parliament.

The Combating Counterfeit Products Act (C-56) was first introduced in March but failed to be considered before parliament's extended summer break, caused by Prime Minister Stephen Harper delaying (by prorogation) the start of the current session.

The bill was put forward once again on October 28 under a new code (C-8) and is identical to the earlier draft, which sought to bring Canada's legislations into line with the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

It seeks to amend Canada's Copyright Act and the Trademarks Act by providing brand owners with new rights to sue for damages for counterfeits and infringing activity, creating new criminal offenses for trademark counterfeits and the possession or export of infringing  goods, packaging or labels, and granting new powers for enforcement of intellectual property (IP) rights at the border.

For example, Canadian customs officials would be granted the power to detain suspected fakes - not necessarily with the involvement of the rights holder - and may also share information with rights holders to help with prosecutions. Currently customs has no power to detain counterfeit goods and is prohibited from providing information or samples to rights holders.

The CCPA also updates the definition of a trademark to allow the inclusion of a broader range of 'signs', such as holograms, moving images and even sensory factors such as sounds, tastes and scents, and makes the trademark opposition procedure simpler.

As theC-8 is identical to C-56 it is considered to have reached the same stage (second reading) and has been referred to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology for possible amendments.

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