The INTA Annual Meeting has become the largest intellectual property congress every year. Managing partner, Natalie Raffoul, and Senior Patent Counsel, Dennis Haszko, look forward to meeting with numerous IP colleagues from around the globe and on exchanging updates on IP practice globally. The Meeting is being held in Boston from May 18 to 22, 2019.
By Stacey Dunn
The US Copyright Office has rejected “The Carlton” dance from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a choreographed routine worthy of copyright protection. While instantly recognizable for decades, the US Copyright Office says that The Carlton is merely a “simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work”. In coming to this conclusion, the Copyright Office detailed the dance in cringe-worthy detail, stating that the
dancer sways their hips as they step from side to side, while swinging their arms in an exaggerated manner. In the second dance step, the dancer takes two steps to each side while opening and closing their legs and their arms in unison. In the final step, the dancer’s feet are still and they lower one hand from above their head to the middle of their chest while fluttering their fingers.
Such detail may be required for a Copyright Office decision; but, of course, most know the dance:
The US Copyright Office’s refusal raises questions of copyright protection in Canada. Would The Carlton be protectable as a “choreographic work”, a subsection of “dramatic work”, under the Copyright Act? Unfortunately, the Copyright Act offers no guidance as to what may be covered, barely elaborating to define a choreographic work to include “any work of choreography, whether or not it has any story line”. A choregraphed dance that is fixated and original may be covered under the Copyright Act, but there is very little Canadian case law to elaborate on how complex a dance must be to constitute a choreographic work.
In FWS Joint Sports Claimants v. Canada (Copyright Board) ( 1 FC 487), the Court held that playing a sports game cannot be a choreographic work “because, unlike a dance, a sporting event is for the most part a random series of events. The unpredictability of the action is inconsistent with the concept of choreography”. In Pastor v Chen (2002 BCPC 0169), a case where a dance instructor sued his former dance student for teaching the instructor’s version of a Cuban form of Salsa called “La Rueda”, the Court held that the “uniquely choreographed moves and dance styles” were covered by copyright. However, the dance was extremely complex, requiring a minimum of three couples and each move is done by a “call” from the leader. Furthermore, the instructor was successful on the basis of a breach of confidentiality agreement and the Court’s comments regarding copyright in the dance were merely in obiter.
The question remains as to how elaborate a dance must be to constitute a choreographic work in Canada; however, similarly to the US, something as simple as The Carlton may not warrant protection in Canada.
Natalie Raffoul as a Campaign Cabinet Member helped the 2nd Annual Charity Skiathon double its net proceeds for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa (BGCO).
The firm was also a proud Sponsor of the day and recruited other business leaders to join its ski team for a gorgeous day at Camp Fortune.
Over $150,000 was raised in one day(!) for the BGCO, an organization supporting Ottawa’s children and youth since 1923, by specializing in after school and weekend programs for kids aged 6 to 18.
To see some great local coverage of the event, please follow these links:
Under the new Rules, an Applicant can obtain a filing date by submitting: an indication that a Canadian patent is sought; the Applicant’s information; and a document describing the invention in any language. A translation of the invention description document into English or French and the filing fee may now follow at a later date.
Furthermore, Applicants may now obtain a filing date on a holiday or on the weekend as electronic communications will be deemed received on the day they are submitted, even if the Patent Office is closed.
If the priority claim requirements are not complied with, the priority claim will merely be disregarded rather than being deemed abandoned.
Certified copies of each priority document must be submitted or made available through an acceptable digital library. This requirement will not apply when the priority document is an earlier Canadian application or a national phase application that already satisfied its PCT priority document requirement.
Restoration of Priority Claim
The Office will now provide a two-month extension beyond the twelve-month period for claiming priority. Applicants may now file an application up to fourteen months from the earlier filed application and restore priority.
Streamlined Process for Amending an Application After Allowance
Applicants are no longer required to withhold paying the final fee to let an application go abandoned to re-enter examination. The new Rules allow for requesting a Notice of Allowance to be withdrawn, after which the Application re-enters Examination and the Application may be amended.
Notice Required from Patent Office Prior to Abandonment
Under the new Rules, an Application will not go abandoned for failure to pay maintenance fees or to request examination without prior notification of a deadline. A notice letter will be sent establishing a deadline of the later of six months from the missed deadline or two months from the notice date.
42 Month Deadline for National Phase Entries is No Longer “As of Right”
The twelve-month deadline extension for entering
While these changes are a step in the right direction for patent practice, Patent Applicants should be aware of the tightened timelines and additional requirements coming into force within the year.
If you have any questions regarding the new Rules, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].
Brion Raffoul’s Managing Partner, Natalie Raffoul, will be attending the Licensing Executive Society International (LESI) Winter Planning Meeting in Miami from January 25-27, 2019. Ms. Raffoul is Co-Chair of the Education Committee. The Winter Planning Meeting provides an opportunity for the global LES leadership to meet and plan the year ahead for the society and also learn from intellectual property licensing industry experts. The LESI will meet again for its Annual Meeting in May in Yokohama, Japan. https://www.lesi.org/events/2019-winter-planning-meeting