Numerous and substantial amendments were recently made to the Industrial Design Act and the Industrial Design Rules. The amendments will modernise Canada's industrial design law and harmonise it with other jurisdictions. Among other changes, applicants may now file a divisional application for any design that is originally disclosed – not merely claimed – in a parent application as filed and choose whether to provide a description of the design or statement of limitation.
In January 2017 the Industrial Design Office altered its treatment of design applications in a number of areas. In response to consultations with members of the profession, the office has now clarified certain procedural aspects by releasing additional guidance. Among other provisions, the guidance outlines how applicants can have certain new practices applied to pending applications filed before the new practices came into effect.
The Industrial Design Office recently announced changes that significantly modernise and streamline six of its office practices, substantially benefiting applicants seeking protection for their designs in Canada. Chief among these is that applicants will be able to claim colour as part of a design by filing colour photographs or drawings and stating in the design's description that colour is a feature of the design. This change significantly broadens the scope of subject matter available for registration.
Canadian law allows for the appearance of an article to act as a trademark and Canada's design regime provides flexibility not only in controlling the timing of prosecution, but also in deciding what scope of protection is sought. When considering the sale of competing goods that are imported into Canada from the United States or abroad, registering industrial designs may prove cost and time effective.
The Canadian Patent Act does not explicitly define who is an inventor. Canadian courts have thus had to infer the requirements of inventorship from the language of the Patent Act. The recent decisions in Drexan and Dr Falk provide insights into the Federal Court's reasoning when determining who should be considered an inventor for the purposes of a patent.