CIPO Proposes a 25% Increase of Governmental Fees for 2024

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is proposing to deal with its chronic financial problems by increasing governmental fees in matters of I.P. come next year. The Canadian government is thus proposing to amend the regulations relating to the costs of I.P. matters in Canada. This substantial increase, if indeed adopted, would raise the fees relating to matters such as registration of patents, trademarks, copyrights, industrial designs and trademarks.

As explained in the summary prepared by the government:

CIPO is proposing to adjust most fees by 25% over the 2024 fees to address its current structural deficit situation and return the organization to a position of financial stability. CIPO is also proposing to expand the definition of small entity while maintaining the current patent fees for small entities.

As a result, to give you an idea, the proposed increase would raison the costs associated with trademark application from $330.00 to $458.00 for the first class, and from $100.00 to $139.00 for additional classes. The costs associated with recording assignments would increase from $100.00 to $125.00, etc.

Even though this is only a proposal, it is generally agreed this is likely to sail through and indeed materialize. Come 2024, it seems probable this increase will be adopted and applied.

This is one more good reason not to wait to protect your I.P. rights if you haven’t done so already.

Why You Should Start with an Inventory of Your Business’ Personal Information

As everyone knows by now, privacy-related legislation is now such in Canada that pretty much every organization should take heed and start doing its homework on that front. Complying with privacy law is no longer something only multinationals should do, SMB/SMEs should now do it too.

Though it may seem tempting to jump right into what privacy legislation prohibits and mandates, this is not the first step you should take. A preliminary (but necessary) step is to stop and think about what the organization really does with personal information and how -in detail. Though this exercise may involve expending resources, it should be done, at least if you’re serious about the process.

Indeed, the first order of business when undertaking this process, should be to take inventory of what personal information is collected by the organization, the whole organization, including as to employees, clients, customers (potential and actual), etc. When doing this, it is worthwhile to try and understand how this data comes in, through what processes, tools, partners, etc.

Along with knowing how we go about collecting information, we should strive to inventory the whole of personal information which the organization ends-up having in store, and the system(s) used to collect and store it.

Once we know what information the organization has access to, it will then be important to chart and document what we do with each piece of information, including how we use it, where we send it, who we communicate it to, etc. Though time-consuming, this will later allow us to assess what we need to do to remain compliant with privacy legislation.

All this preliminary work should normally result in providing us with a clear picture of the extent to which personal information is relevant to the organization and what we need to manage moving forward. Equipped with an understanding of what the organization does, we can then start determining whether we are complying with privacy rules as to each instance of collection, of use and of communication and, if not, what remedial steps must be taken.

Though it may prove tempting for many small organizations to start looking at the requirements of privacy legislation right away, without making an adequate inventory, this is definitely not the way to go. If you want to things properly and end-up knowing reasonably well that you do comply with privacy legislation, a modicum of preparatory work is required, including adequately taking stock of what your organization actually does with personal information, throughout.

Though it may feel like spinning your wheels at first, it will pay off in the long run, as it will then allow a proper analysis of your privacy practices and adequate recommendations as to go about thing, moving forward.

Even More Changes Coming for the Competition Act and a Story About Rental Rates Shenanigans Illustrating Why It May Be Needed

Not content with the 2022 changes to the Competition Act, Canada was announcing this week that it will be looking into making even more changes, based on a consultation it has now undertaken. Use of technology is changing how society is going about things and the economy is of course following suit. In a context of constant changes, it’s not very surprising we also need to keep updating our statute that deals with preserving competition between businesses.

Canada will be looking to make changes such as those discussed in a recent document published by the government and which provided us with a fair indication as to what may be in store for the Competition Act, moving forward.

This is happening in Canada but other countries like the U.S. are experiencing the same kind of thing.

In a story that seems a good example of what we’re talking about, the Verge was reporting a story earlier this week about the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) looking into practices by some American landlords (lessors) potentially fixing prices for rental space (to a degree), by using the RealPage software to collaborate.

The story at issue relates to the fact that, nowadays, large landlords often subscribe to a platform called YieldStar (connected to RealPage) that easily allows them to share part of the data about their rental rates, in various markets. Over time, the system has enough data to suggest possible rentals rates to landlords looking to rent premises, as compared to other deals in the same area for such premises. In practice, this may lead to higher rates than would otherwise have been the case, had landlords not shared info like this.

In essence, if every landlord ends-up sharing data with other landlords in the market (in this instance, through use of a specific software), we may end-up with a coordinated effort that results in an increase in rental rates across the country. If this amounts to collusion, then legally there may be an issue of competition law, by the sheer use of RealPage and YieldStar, including certain message boards that are part of that offering. That’s the question the DOJ is looking into anyway.

Interesting fact pattern that’s symptomatic of the interaction which technology can have with competition law. Sharing is fine, but cartel-like practices may be crossing a line.