With increased global and domestic attention on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), uncertainty remains around several aspects of the negotiations. The current opportunity to renegotiate the agreement calls for thought leadership in reaching a deal that works for Canadians and advances some of this country’s core values within the trading zone.

Given the fast-paced negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and as part of efforts to support Canada’s negotiators and policy makers with clear, simple and factual analyses of Canada’s key interests within the negotiations, the International Law Research Program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation commissioned a series of essays addressing intellectual property rights. A modernized chapter for intellectual property rights could have a deep impact on the emerging knowledge economy in Canada and for the people who turn ideas into innovations.

The authors featured in this special report provide important recommendations to support the development and growth of an innovation economy in Canada with respect to the copyright system, the patent system, as well as Canada’s geographical indications rules. The essays also point to some emerging issues that have yet to be considered within the existing NAFTA. In light of Canada’s recent international dealings and domestic commitments, these areas — big data and Indigenous traditional knowledge, in particular — form important considerations.

This series brings together a community of scholars and practitioners to share, through a variety of contexts, some of the requirements of a modernized NAFTA Chapter 17.

About the Authors

Bassem Awad is a senior fellow and was previously the deputy director of International Intellectual Property Law and Innovation at CIGI.

Marsha Simone Cadogan is a CIGI senior fellow specializing in intellectual property, trade and technology law.

A graduate of McGill University (B.C.L., LL.B., LL.M.) and Université Paris II (doctorate in law) and member of the Barreau du Québec, Ysolde Gendreau has taught intellectual property law and competition law at the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Law since 1991. Her research focuses on copyright from a comparative and an international perspective. Ysolde has taught at McGill University, Universités Paris II, Paris XII, Nantes, Strasbourg III and Lyon 2, and Monash University (Australia).

E. Richard Gold is a CIGI senior fellow and a James McGill Professor with McGill University’s Faculty of Law.

Ariel Katz is an associate professor in the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law, where he holds the Innovation Chair in Electronic Commerce.

Konstantia Koutouki is a professor of law at the Université de Montréal, the lead counsel for Natural Resources with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law at McGill University and the executive director at Nomomente Institute. Her research examines the links among international trade, intellectual property and environmental protection.

Howard P. Knopf is counsel with Macera & Jarzyna, LLP in Ottawa, Canada. He has worked in government and the private sector, mainly in the areas of copyright, trademarks, cyber law, competition and related issues. His litigation successes include important decisions in the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada on issues involving file sharing, privacy, private copying levies, parallel importation, fair dealing and Copyright Board tariffs.

Jean-Frédéric Morin is a CIGI senior fellow and an associate professor at Laval University, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy.

Teresa Scassa is a CIGI senior fellow. She is also the Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy and a full professor at the University of Ottawa’s Law Faculty, where her groundbreaking research explores issues of data ownership and control.