Intellectual Property Rights

Padlock and Chain on Laptop Computer Keyboard

The copyright law of Canada governs the legally enforceable rights to creative and artistic works under the laws of Canada. Canada passed its first colonial copyright statute in 1832 but was subject to imperial copyright law established by Britain until 1921. Current copyright law was established by the Copyright Act of Canada which was first passed in 1921 and substantially amended in 1988, 1997 and 2012.

Copyright includes the right to first publish, reproduce, perform, transmit and show in in public. Additionally, other subsidiary rights such as abridgment and translation are also conferred. A work must be original and can include literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works or compilations. Copyright is granted the moment the work is created and does not distinguish work of a professional or that of an amateur. There is also no distinction between for profit or commercial use or for hobby purposes. Literary work includes anything that is written, such speeches, essays and books and may be in any form. However, a short string of words or spontaneous speech is not covered. Dramatic works include the characters, scenes, choreography, cinematography, relationship between characters, dialogue and dramatic expression. Artistic works include sculptures, paintings, photographs, charts and engravings. Musical works include any musical compositions with or without words. Unexpressed ideas are not protected work.

Canada Copy

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office,  is a  operating agency of Industry Canada and administers most of Canada’s IP laws and regulations to ensure that they meet present and future client needs and best contribute to the Canadian economy. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office grants or registers ownership for the following five types of IP: patents, trade-marks, copyrights, industrial designs and integrated circuit topographies. Second, it makes accessible to the public the details of new innovations registered in Canada, thereby encouraging further economic activity. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office core functions reward and encourage innovation and the use of IP by granting IP rights, maintaining a responsive IP framework, and ensuring that the IP data collected by Canadian Intellectual Property Office is available to all its clients, in Canada and abroad.

Some Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises assume that the IP rights are not so important mostly because they do not fully understand the IP benefits and implications. There are many companies that have very valuable IP rights but they don’t use them effectively. Other companies are occasionally involved unintentionally in violating the IP rights of others without being aware of the legal consequences for doing so.

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