New draft guidelines issued on business method patents

June 8, 2009


Chris Hunter tells Law Times he believes it will be harder in Canada to get patents on e-commerce as a result of new guidelines on business method patents.


The Canadian Patent Office has issued new draft guidelines on business method patents, and the proposed rules may not be good news for e-commerce.

The draft, which excludes protection claims for processes in a "non-technological field," will likely make it difficult, if not impossible, for many Internet-based businesses to get patents for their inventions. "I think it's going to be a lot harder in Canada to get patents on e-commerce because e-commerce almost by definition is non-technological," says Chris Hunter, a partner at Ogilvy Renault LLP in Toronto.

At issues is whether doing business online has a physical component, a question that is fairly obvious when the invention at hand is a widget. "It's not like creating a new drug for cancer, which costs billions of dollars," says Hunter, referring to business methods.

Ogilvy Renault joined international legal practice Norton Rose Group on June 1, 2011, and is now called Norton Rose OR LLP.