Intellectual property and international trade in goods: North-american and european perspectives

This year’s topic is the interplay between distribution and intellectual property law. The latter plays an important role in transactions for goods and international trade agreements, and emerges as a difficult topic in Canada-Europe trade negotiations. Indeed, intellectual property permeates many transactions, and has to interact, sometimes with difficulty, with conventional property and other legal rules governing distribution. For some, intellectual property is a too onerous charge for the international trade of goods, while for others it is a powerful tool to organize and control distribution networks.

Recently, both Canadian and US highest courts had to deal with a bellicose intellectual property. In two similar cases, one concerning the importation of candy bars (Kraft Canada), the other of watches (Omega), the issue was the use of copyright law to exclude a non-affiliated retailer from the national distribution network. Surprisingly, the courts have failed to rally the majority and have revived the debate on the role of intellectual property in cases involving the distribution of goods. In Europe, the European Court of Justice carries on its work on accommodating intellectual property rights within the priorities of the European market. It recently expressed itself on the distribution of licenses for use on a secondary market (UsedSoft) and on the territoriality of rights concerning the diffusion of sporting events (Premier League). Such decisions can hardly be ignored and are full of insights to anticipate mutations coming to our legal system and practices.

The objective of this 4th seminar is to expose research and developments on the role and functions of intellectual property rights in the distribution of goods. Traditional issues related to national and international exhaustion regarding tangible and intangible goods will be addressed, as will be the less-known impacts of intellectual property rights on technology transfer mechanisms, that is the distribution of knowledge.

The general report will be presented by Professor Ysolde Gendreau, Université de Montréal.

The CIPP event takes place within the two days AIJA conference on « Commerce global, stratégies juridiques locales – Global Distribution and Local Legal Strategies »

CIPP conference – accreditation for the afternoon – $150.00; free for students and faculty.

Programme scientifique

This content has been updated on August 16, 2015 at 20:31.