Wednesday, December 31, 2014

No Discretion to Extend Time Limits for Reinstatement of Abandoned Applications

Cloutier c Thibault 2014 CF 1135 St-Louis J
            2,437,612, 2,470,139, 2,553,144

Mr Cloutier invented a new type of crimping tool for use in plumbing. He entered into a partnership with Mr Thibault to patent the invention and commercialize it [5]. Mr Thibault filed three patent applications for the invention without informing Mr Cloutier, and naming himself rather than Mr Cloutier as the inventor [6], [9]. Mr Cloutier successfully moved to have the partnership dissolved and to establish his entitlement to the inventions [11], but during and shortly after that litigation the applications were abandoned for failure to pay maintenance fees, in accordance with s 27.1 and 73 of the Act [12]. No application for reinstatement was made within the 12 month grace period provided by s 98 of the Rules.

In this case, Mr Cloutier asked the court to reinstate the application, and to name him as the inventor. St-Louis J refused, on the ground that the court has no jurisdiction in law or equity to extend the mandatory time limits established by the Act [23-24]. That proposition is well-established by the authorities cited by St-Louis J: see in particular Hoffmann-La Roche AG v Canada (Commissioner of Patents), 2003 FC 1381 [41-45] aff’d 2005 FCA 399 [7-8].

Given the mandatory nature of the time limits, this conclusion would evidently follow regardless of whether Mr Cloutier would have been in a position to seek relief in a timely manner, but the court noted that the evidence suggested that Mr Cloutier could have taken steps before the applications were irrevocably abandoned [25].

The court also refused to order the application amended to show Mr Cloutier as the inventor, as this would have been pointless given the refusal to reinstate the application [27].

Friday, December 26, 2014

No New Cases for the Week of 22 December

No new patent / NOC / data protection cases were released for the week of 22 December 2014.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Liability Decision is Res Judicata in a Bifurcated Action

Merck & Co Inc v Apotex Inc 2014 FC 1058 Hughes J var’g 2014 FC 883 Lafrenière J
            1,275,350 – lisinopril – PRINIVIL

This motion to amend relates to the upcoming damages portion of a bifurcated action. In the underlying Liability decision, 2006 FC 524 aff’d 2006 FCA 323, the patent was held invalid and infringed, in part on the basis of the law set out in Boehringer (1962), 39 CPR 201. Subsequently, in its Viagra decision 2012 SCC 60 [57], the SCC reversed, or at least reinterpreted Boehringer on the relevant issue. In this motion Apotex argued that the law having changed, it should be able to amend its Statement of Issues to argue, in effect, that it should not be made to pay damages for infringement of an invalid patent. In the decision under appeal, Lafrenière J held that the amendment would not be allowed, on the basis of res judicata. In a brief decision, Hughes J has affirmed, largely adopting Lafrenière J’s reasoning [7]. My post on Lafrenière J’s decision discusses the issues in more detail. I noted that while Lafrenière J’s reasoning was strong, I was not convinced that the prior Canadian case law was entirely settled. In adopting Lafrenière J’s reasons, Hughes J’s decision clarifies Canadian law on this point.

In a point which I did not discuss in my previous post, Apotex had also sought an amendment alleging that Merck had breached provisions of the Competition Act. That amendment had also been refused by Lafrenière J. Hughes J allowed these amendments in light of certain concessions made by Apotex regarding their scope [14]-[15].

Sunday, December 14, 2014

No New Cases for the Week of 8 December

No new patent / NOC / data protection cases were released for the week of 8 December 2014.

Monday, December 8, 2014

No New Cases for the Week of 1 December

No new patent / NOC / data protection cases were released for the week of 1 December 2014.