On April 2, 2014, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) and the Canadian Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) to foster coherent development of policies and guidelines, transfer of expert knowledge in areas of mutual interest, and cross-agency training programs. The MOU is available at http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/wr03772.html .
The MOU makes sense because IP law and competition law share the common objective of promoting an efficient economy that is both innovative and competitive. Like a carrot, IP law incentivizes creativity in the economy by awarding exclusivities and monopoly rights to persons who innovate. Competition law is more akin to a stick with which the government uses to guard the economy against non-competitiveness.
The two creates an interesting interface. At this interface, a fine balancing act is needed to ensure that monopolies granted under IP law do not impede the competitiveness of the relevant markets and that the enforcement of competition law does not diminish the drive for innovation fostered by IP law.
It is anticipated that the MOU will formulate a closer alliance between CIPO and the Competition Bureau to facilitate the articulation of a clearer picture of the agencies’ position on the various challenging policy issues at the interface of IP law and competition law.
By David Chen
By David Chen