Perspectives from Canada
Queen Mary Studies in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Ysolde Gendreau
Chapter 12: Surfacing: The Canadian Intellectual Property Identity
Ysolde Gendreau To assert one’s own voice in the concert of nations: here is an endeavour that may seem almost foolhardy in the contemporary world of intellectual property. In an age of increasing globalisation – to use a worn out phrase – few countries are able to express loudly their identity and run counter to the waves of international harmonisation. Who, indeed, can afford to be isolated? Increasingly, the positions that may be exemplified by one country’s stance are perceived as representative of positions that are shared by a recognised community of nations. To wit, the debate in South Africa on the price exacted on patented anti-HIV drugs in the 1990s has been emblematic of the views held by developing countries on drug patents and even patents in general. After all, which country does not elaborate intellectual property policies in light of its overall political and commercial alliances? Of course, such political and commercial contexts do not by themselves account for all the policy decisions that a country may make. The degree of integration with others that countries experience is one factor that can influence the situation: it is easy to appreciate that the intellectual property laws of a European Community country are much more dictated on an on-going basis by community principles than those of a member country of the North American Free Trade Agreement can be by the terms of that text.1 Moreover, the strength of that country’s intellectual property heritage will also bear upon its integration of those common...
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