Canada - Term of Patent Protection

Report of the Panel

On 6 May 1999, the US requested consultations with Canada in respect of the term of protection granted to patents that were filed in Canada before 1 October 1989. The US contended that the TRIPS Agreement obligates Members to grant a term of protection for patents that runs at least until twenty years after the filing date of the underlying protection, and requires each Member to grant this minimum term to all patents existing as of the date of the application of the Agreement to that Member. The US alleged that under the Canadian Patent Act, the term granted to patents issued on the basis of applications filed before 1 October 1989 is 17 years from the date on which the patent is issued. The US contended that this situation is inconsistent with Articles 33, 65 and 70 of the TRIPS Agreement.

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