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Canadian Supreme Court rules on patent ‘Promise Doctrine’
August 2017
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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Supreme Court of Canada issued a ruling on June 30 overturning the “Promise Doctrine,” calling it “unsound” and “incongruent with both the words and scheme of the Patent Act.” The Promise Doctrine came from Canada’s 1985 Patent Act, and states that an invention is defined as “any new and useful art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement in any art, process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter.” Robert Zirkelbach, executive vice president of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, issued a statement in the wake of the ruling, commenting that “We are very pleased that the Canadian Supreme Court held that Canada’s patent utility ‘promise’ doctrine is inconsistent with intellectual property norms. The Court’s decision could not have been clearer, concluding that ‘the application of the Promise Doctrine is not the correct approach to determine whether a patent has sufficient utility.’”

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