USMCA, the new American Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Recently United States, Mexico, and Canada reached an Agreement USMCA (also referred to as the new NAFTA) which will have significant impact on the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, including digital rights and rebroadcast rights across Mexico, Canada and the U.S.

In short, Canada and Mexico have agreed to extend the copyright protection, patent protection and trademark protection across the North American Region.

Generally, the U.S. adopted the approach which was consistent with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) approach and added some additional benefits which were not included in that agreement.

​In the USMCA Agreement, Mexico and Canada agreed to extend protection for pharmaceutical patents up to ten years (from eight) within the next five years.  This means that a generic version of a pharmaceutical drug would not be available for ten years.

​Canada and Mexico also agreed to extend the term of patent protection (up to two-years) for a patent if the delay was based upon a delay in the prosecution of a patent. Like the U.S. has already implemented, this means that if the Canadian patent office has a delay in approving a patent, the term of the patent will be extended so that the inventor receives the full benefit of their 20 year patent term.

Canada and Mexico also agreed to extend the copyright term of an author to life plus 70 years, consistent with the term of copyright protection provided in the U.S.

Finally, Mexico and Canada agreed to provide a damage calculation mechanism for deterring trademark infringement.  ​In the past, it was difficult, if not impossible to enforce your trademark rights in Canada because the recovery was very low and the cost to obtain any form of recovery was very high.  Under the new treaty, Canada agreed to create a mechanism which would deter future infringements and to compensate the trademark holder for the harm caused by the trademark infringement.

If you have a questions about protecting or enforcing your rights for your trademark, patent or copyrights feel free to contact one of our attorneys.

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