On March 1, 2013, the Canadian Government introduced Bill C-56, Combating Counterfeit Products Act. The passage of Bill C-56 would result in amendments to the Copyright Act and Trade-marks Act designed to strengthen the rights of copyright and trade-mark owners in Canada.
The proposed legislation aims to protect public safety and health by curtailing the importation of and trade in counterfeit goods in Canada. The Government has sought to address the growing problem of counterfeit branded goods (often referred to as “knock-offs”) and pirated copyright-protected works by granting increased powers to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and through the introduction of new enforcement measures for rights holders.
The most significant change reflected in the draft legislation is the establishment of a new border regime to prevent commercial counterfeit goods from entering Canada for sale and distribution. The Bill proposes to expand the powers of the CBSA by granting Canadian border officers the legal authority and discretion to search for, examine and detain suspected commercial shipments of counterfeit goods and to contact rights holders concerning detained shipments. The CBSA’s proposed new search and seizure powers would not apply to commercial shipments where Canada is not the final destination.
In addition, Bill C-56 would establish a new voluntary “request for assistance” system to allow copyright and trade-mark owners to file requests with the CBSA for assistance in detaining commercial shipments suspected of containing counterfeit goods that infringe on the owner’s rights. Other measures seeking to reduce trade in counterfeit goods include provisions that prohibit the manufacture, possession, importation, export or attempts to export counterfeit goods and the introduction of new criminal offences for the import and export of goods that infringe trade-mark rights or copyright.
Finally, Bill C-56 includes sweeping changes seeking to modernize the Trade-marks Act and to simplify and streamline trade-mark registration and opposition procedures in Canada. Further information about the provisions of Bill C-56 as they relate specifically to these proposed changes to the Trade-marks Act will be addressed in a further Osler Update to follow shortly – so stay tuned!