In patent claims, Markush groups define claimed subject matter in a form such as "the group consisting of A, B and C", whereas alternatives may be recited in a form such as "A, B or C". The Federal Court recently considered the validity of claims that recite Markush groups compared with claims to alternatives. However, its decision only added to uncertainty regarding the relative strengths of the two types of claim.
Recent amendments to the Patent Rules have changed final action practice. The amended rules affect the handling of an amendment made in response to a final action, the scheduling of an appeal hearing, the raising of new issues on appeal and the availability of further prosecution by the examiner.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently confirmed that pre-existing sound recordings that accompany a cinematographic work are part of a soundtrack and are therefore excluded from equitable remuneration under the Copyright Act. This decision clarifies the rights of performers and makers of sound recordings embodied in cinematographic works.
The Canadian Patent Act requires a claimed invention to be useful. However, a detailed examination of utility seldom arises in infringement actions involving mechanical patents. A recent Federal Court decision illustrates the risk of including a promise in a mechanical patent specification where the utility for the full scope of the claimed subject matter cannot be demonstrated or soundly predicted at the application filing date.
Following a consultation period on a proposed practice notice, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office recently released a practice notice on obviousness in response to the Supreme Court's Sanofi decision. At the outset, the practice notice acknowledges that claimed subject matter resulting from any degree of ingenuity will not be considered obvious.
In a recent judgment the Federal Court revisited and clarified the interface between competition law and patent law in Canada. On settling a conflict proceeding, the patentee was accused of contravening the Competition Act. However, the court concluded that a Competition Act violation requires “something more” than the mere existence or assertion of statutory patent rights.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office recently issued a practice notice stating its position that electromagnetic and acoustic signals are not patentable subject matter in Canada. The practice note generally follows recent developments in the United States.
Like other public authorities under the Trademarks Act, the Canadian Olympic Association has historically enjoyed significant protection for its official marks. Now, in light of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in Vancouver, the Canadian Parliament has passed special legislation to expand the scope of protection for Olympic and Paralympic marks and to facilitate enforcement.