Competition Bureau releases updated Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines

News Release

Guidelines make it easier for intellectual property stakeholders to operate within the law

March 31, 2016 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau released updated Intellectual Property Enforcement Guidelines (IPEGs) today.

The Bureau is making it a priority to provide increased clarity on how it deals with competition issues involving intellectual property. To support innovation and ensure that guidance keeps pace with developments, it has committed to review the IPEGs annually and will revise them as needed in light of experience, changing circumstances and decisions of the Competition Tribunal and the courts.

The updated IPEGs provide clarification on the Bureau’s approach to conducting investigations of alleged anti‑competitive activities that relate to intellectual property, making it easier for stakeholders such as the legal community, the pharmaceutical industry and others with a stake in intellectual property matters to operate within the law.

The main revisions to the guidelines include clarification on the Bureau’s position on patent settlements and product switching, which are issues affecting the pharmaceutical industry in Canada and globally. The revised guidelines also address the conduct of patent assertion entities and conduct involving standard essential patent owners.

The update follows an extensive public consultation process, held in 2015, where stakeholders were invited to provide their views on a draft version of the IPEGs. This included meetings with several stakeholders to better understand their issues. The Bureau carefully considered all comments and submissions received during the consultation and made changes to the final draft where appropriate.

Quick facts

  • The Bureau received numerous comments and submissions from stakeholders — 14 of which can be found on the Bureau’s website –– including the Canadian and American bar associations, industry associations, major technology firms, and well known antitrust scholars.
  • The update to the Bureau’s IPEGs reflects past enforcement experience, Canadian case law, guidance documents released in other jurisdictions, and benchmarking with international counterparts.
  • The Bureau also considered the current global economic and technological environment, and the rapid rate of technological change occurring in many industries.

Related information

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