With the creation of specialized Chambers in the Federal Court, parties can be confident that judges assigned to their intellectual property matters in Canada will have intellectual property expertise.
New specialized Federal Court Chambers
On March 2, 2023, the Federal Court issued a Notice to the Parties and the Profession announcing that the Federal Court has launched a pilot project creating three specialized Chambers of the Court in the following practice areas:
- Intellectual Property and Competition
- Maritime and Admiralty
- Class Actions
Intellectual property (IP) matters will be assigned to members of the IP and Competition Chambers. According to the notice, for some years, the Chief Justice has endeavoured to assign IP and competition matters to members of the Court who have expertise in those areas. Now parties can confidently expect that the judges assigned to their matters will have expertise in the relevant issues.
Assignment of matters to IP Chambers is automatic
It is not necessary for parties to make a formal request for a matter to be assigned to a judge from the relevant Chamber. The Federal Court Registry categorizes and codes all proceedings, which is considered by the Judicial Administrator when assigning judges to a case.
For assignments to the IP and Competition Chambers, the Judicial Administrator will also consider sub-specialties related to practice areas particular to IP (e.g., copyright, trademarks, patents and competition).
An improvement to IP enforcement in Canada
With this pilot project, parties enforcing their IP in Canada can expect that the judge hearing their matter will have expertise in the subject matter at issue. The Chambers will be used for assigning judges to hearings on the merits as well as special sittings on motions and case management of class actions.
This is the latest in the list of reasons why Canada is an attractive jurisdiction for IP enforcement (see: “Top 5 reasons to consider patent litigation in Canada now”).
For additional benefits to litigation in Canada, see some of our recent articles about significant profit awards, high costs awards, and assured protection of confidential information via protective orders.