Intellectual Property in a Renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement: A Canadian Perspective

CIGI Paper No. 139

August 14, 2017

Consistent with promises made in the 2016 presidential campaign, the Trump administration requested a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This paper focuses on the NAFTA intellectual property (IP) chapter and situates the NAFTA renegotiation in the context of Canada’s other recent trade agreement negotiations with significant IP components: the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The upcoming review of the NAFTA IP chapter will provide an opportunity to address issues of alignment of the NAFTA IP chapter and the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. Canadian negotiators will want to be vigilant to avoid conflicts between any new NAFTA provisions derived from the TPP, on the one hand, and Canada’s CETA obligations, on the other. This is particularly pertinent in the area of geographical indications in respect of agricultural products and foods and the area of supplementary protection certificates in respect of pharmaceutical patents (which Canada will introduce to comply with its new CETA obligations).

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