The Status of Intellectual Property in Canada

Intellectual property protections support the innovative ecosystem that produces the newest and best discoveries in a wide range of sectors, including health care. Recently, the Global IP Center released the third edition of the GIPC International IP Index. Intended as a constructive tool, this report helps business and policy makers measure an economy’s overall IP environment. We covered last year’s release in detail and want to explore today how this year’s numbers compare.

Overall, Canada’s report card improved from an overall score of 17.4/30 to 17.92/30. While this isn’t a significant jump, it does represent a gradual improvement. The key area of strength that came out of this year’s report is that the release of the full text of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) showed how final ratification will significantly strengthen our IP environment, particularly for the life sciences sector.

Understanding how we measure up against our global competitors can help to figure out where we need improvement in order to maintain and create jobs, increase innovation, and improve access to medicines. Our country still has room for improvement in these areas:

  • Onerous patentability requirements narrow the scope of inventions
  • Pharmaceutical-related patent enforcement and resolution mechanism under Notice of Compliance procedure deficient
  • Patent term restoration not available; possible change upon implementation of CETA
  • DRM regulation ineffective; wide availability of circumvention devices
  • No takedown mechanism in ISP notification system
  • Established counterfeit market
  • Poor application and enforcement of civil remedies and criminal penalties


We are moving in the right direction, but still have work to do. This opportunity for self-assessment grants Canadian policy makers a crucial moment to look for ways to continue to improve our standings. Doing nothing to improve puts global research and development investments in jeopardy for Canada and could impact individuals in Canada having access to the latest innovative medicines.

 By taking on the right kind of big picture thinking about intellectual property, our policy makers can support innovation and the economy in Canada and ensure that we remain competitive with our international counterparts.

You can read the full results for yourself here. Have any questions? Leave them in the comments section below or tweet at us!