Response from Industry Canada

Just received this response from the Ministry. Any typos are likely my own!

Dear Chris Brand:

On behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister for Industry, thank you for your e-mail of March 13, 2013, regarding Bill C-56, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act (the Bill).

An effective intellectual property rights regime is central for any growing knowledge-based economy, in order to foster an environment that promotes innovation, attracts new investment, and stimulates economic growth. The Bill proposes balanced measures to enhance existing legislation governing civil and criminal aspects of trademarks and copyright law. It aims to protect Canadian consumers, Canadian manufacturers and retailers as well as the Canadian economy from the health and economic threats presented by counterfeit goods coming into Canada.

In your letter, you raise concerns regarding the ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). I would highlight that this Bill will bring Canada into line with international standards, including those of the ACTA, to which Canada is a signatory. Should there be a future decision to ratify the ACTA, it will be implemented through the Government's Policy on Tabling Treaties in Parliament. This Bill has been the result of long-standing concerns about counterfeiting and piracy.

You also raise concerns about border services officers becoming trademark and copyright experts. I would like to clarify that the Bill will give these officers the authority to temporarily detain goods that are suspected to be counterfeit or pirated. The reasons for suspicion will be based on information from several sources, including information obtained from rights holders. The latter will then have the opportunity to being civil proceedings in court where a judge will make the final determination as to whether the goods are counterfeit or pirated. The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for matters related to the implementation of the new border regime proposed in Bill C-56.

With respect to your concerns about how the Bill will affect the changes made with the Copyright Modernization Act, the provisions of the Bill will not affect the balance achieved with the Copyright Modernization Act. The Copyright Modernization Act focussed on amendments to promote Canada's participation in the digital economy and thus dealt mostly with copyright in the online environment. The changes proposed in the Bill dealing with copyright focus mainly on civil remedies and border detention of tangible goods (e.g. CDs, DVDs), with some minor changes to criminal provisions to cover exporting and possessing pirated copies for commercial purposes.

The new criminal offences in the Bill target those who knowingly engage in commercial counterfeiting activities. These offences do not apply to individuals carrying suspected goods for personal use, or to those who believe they are dealing in legitimate goods. These offences are analogous to the criminal provisions already found in the Copyright Act.

Once passed, this Bill will help to reduce the presence of counterfeit trademark and pirated goods in Canada, thereby protecting the integrity of our economy, supporting Canadian growth and job creation, and helping protect Canadians and their families from the health and safety risks posed by harmful counterfeit and pirated goods.

Thank you for taking the time to write on this important matter.

Your sincerely,

Paul Halucha
Director General
Marketplace Framework Polcy Branch