The state of international intellectual property (IP) law has changed dramatically for Canada in the previous four decades. For example, in 1990 Canada became a party to the Patent Cooperation Treaty; it acceded in 1996 to the substantive provisions of the Stockholm Act (1967) of the Paris Convention (whereas previously it was a party to the London Act [1934] and the administrative provisions of the Stockholm Act [1967]); in 1998 Canada acceded to the Paris Act (1971) of the Berne Convention (whereas previously it was a party to the Rome Act [1928] and the administrative provisions of the Stockholm Act [1967]).

These changes, however, pale in significance with that of the integration of substantive IP rules into international trade agreements, starting with the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO Agreement).

This paper reviews and assesses, from a Canadian perspective, the significance of integrating the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights into the WTO Agreement as well as of integrating comprehensive IP chapters into bilateral and plurilateral free trade agreements and their implications for substantive IP obligations and dispute settlement proceedings.

Part of Series

Marking 150 years since Confederation provides an opportunity for Canadian international law practitioners and scholars to reflect on Canada’s past, present and future in international law and governance. This series of essays, written in the official language chosen by the authors, that provides a critical perspective on Canada’s past and present in international law, surveys the challenges that lie before us and offers renewed focus for Canada’s pursuit of global justice and the rule of law.
The project leaders were Oonagh E. Fitzgerald, director of the International Law Research Program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); Valerie Hughes, CIGI senior fellow, adjunct assistant professor of law at Queen’s University and former director at the World Trade Organization; and Mark Jewett, CIGI senior fellow, counsel to the law firm Bennett Jones, and former general counsel and corporate secretary of the Bank of Canada. The series was published as a book titled Reflections on Canada’s Past, Present and Future in International Law/Réflexions sur le passé, le présent et l’avenir du Canada en matière de droit international in spring 2018.