Patents, Copyright, and Competition: Assessing the Impact of Trade Deals on Canada

March 1, 2017

This C. D. Howe Institute report assesses the intellectual property impact, pertinent to patents, copyright, and competition, of trade agreements Canada has negotiated including the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The paper reviews in detail the claims that strengthened protection for pharmaceutical patents would result in an increase in health care costs, and provide some estimates of C. D. Howe's own on this topic. C. D. Howe also examines claims about the cost to Canadians of copyright term extension. In both cases, C. D. Howe finds that the cost of these changes is likely to be well under what their critics have claimed, and considerably lower than the net gains for Canada otherwise offered by agreements like CETA and the TPP. Furthermore, the report contends that some changes to Canadian law under CETA actually support competition in the pharmaceutical industry.