On April 21, 2015, the Government of Canada, through the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Finance, tabled Canada’s federal budget for 2015 (Budget 2015). As part of Budget 2015, the government plans to modernize Canada’s intellectual property framework by proposing amendments to the Patent Act, Trade-marks Act and Industrial Design Act to create a statutory privilege for confidential communications between intellectual property agents and their clients.
The implementation of this measure through Budget 2015 will bring Canada’s IP framework in line with other common law countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia. As it currently stands in Canada, confidential communications between non-lawyer intellectual property agents and clients are not protected by solicitor-client privilege. Without the protection of privilege, there may be instances in litigation where confidential communications between intellectual property agents and their clients must be disclosed. A statutory privilege for intellectual property agents would protect those communications, allowing Canadian intellectual property agents to provide confidential advice to clients without the threat of disclosure in litigation.