Special 301 Report (Intellectual Property Rights)

Canada was downgraded to the Priority Watch List in 2018.  Significant concerns include poor border and law enforcement with respect to counterfeit or pirated goods, weak patent and pricing environment for innovative pharmaceuticals, deficient copyright protection, and inadequate transparency and due process regarding GIs. The United States remains deeply concerned that Canada does not provide customs officials with the ability to inspect, detain, seize, and destroy in-transit counterfeit and pirated goods entering Canada destined for the United States.

The United States also has significant concerns about proposed changes to Canada’s Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. If finalized in their current form, these policies would fail to appropriately recognize the value of innovative medicines in both the private and public markets, and would make Canada’s pricing policies an outlier among similarly situated countries. The United States encourages Canada to reassess the proposed changes and to meaningfully engage with all interested stakeholders before releasing a final policy to ensure its system is transparent and contributes fairly to research and development for innovative treatments and cures.

The United States welcomes the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in June 2017 rejecting the application of a restrictive patent utility standard, known as the “promise doctrine” that resulted in the invalidation of patents held by U.S. pharmaceutical companies. Additionally, the Federal Court of Canada in July 2017 ruled in favor of an educational content company, which may help circumscribe the overly broad fair dealing copyright exception for educational purposes. The United States will monitor developments concerning remaining issues and looks forward to working closely with Canada in the coming year to address priority IP issues.