After five years of anticipation, sweeping changes to Canada's trademark law have finally come into force. Among other things, Canadian applicants can now file applications in more than 80 countries around the world through a single international application and declarations of use are no longer required to secure registrations.
The Budget Implementation Act 2 has brought about several changes to the Patent Act that affect the scope of protection available under Canadian patents, including a revision of Section 56, which concerns the rights of prior users of patented technologies. However, as many of the Section 56 amendments will require judicial interpretation, the true scope of prior user rights under the revised provision may be unknown for some time.
In two recent cases, the Federal Court considered procedural decisions in actions under the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations. In one case, the court ordered that common validity issues in actions relating to Bayer's Xarelto against Apotex and Teva will be heard concurrently. In another case, the court refused to allow the plaintiffs to name additional Teva parties as further defendants in three actions relating to Celltrion's Herzuma, a trastuzumab biosimilar of Roche's Herceptin.
With the long-awaited changes to the Trademarks Act and Regulations imminent, brand owners should be excited about Canada's alignment with international trademark standards and the new opportunities that these changes will bring. However, brand owners should be aware that Canada has adopted a unique policy concerning the required filing fees which differs significantly from the general practice of other member countries.
The new pan-Canadian Oncology Biosimilars Initiative aims to ensure appropriate implementation and cost-effective use of therapeutic oncology biosimilars. Separately, Health Canada recently announced that it is collaborating with the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network on a project to study patients with certain diseases who are taking biologic drugs. The study aims to compare the safety and effectiveness of biosimilar drugs to the reference biologic drug.