June 30, 2017


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) issued the following statement in response to today’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling in AstraZeneca Canada Inc. v. Apotex Inc. The Court ruled in favor of innovative drug company AstraZeneca and rejected use of Canada’s controversial “Promise Doctrine” policy to overturn patents.

“We welcome today’s ruling that upholds AstraZeneca’s patent rights and rebuffs Canada’s so-called “Promise Doctrine,” stated Patrick Kilbride, vice president of international intellectual property policy. “The Doctrine’s extremely restrictive approach has created harmful instability and uncertainty for medical innovators by making it difficult to obtain or defend a life science patent in Canada. Today, the Supreme Court has begun to restore much-needed clarity and confidence that biopharmaceutical innovators will be afforded equal protections under the law. This ruling sends an important signal that Canada is open for the business of innovation.

“Today’s ruling will also help ensure Canada can unleash the benefits that a robust life sciences intellectual property (IP) framework provides. The U.S. Chamber’s International IP Index, “The Roots of Innovation,” shows that countries with strong IP frameworks see increased biotechnology innovation, improved access to advanced technologies, and greater biomedical foreign direct investment. We stand ready to work with Canada to ensure that policies on both sides of the border support IP-driven innovation, and propel North America to become one of the most innovative and competitive trading blocs in the world.”

In the ruling, the Court stated: “The Promise Doctrine is incongruent with both the words and the scheme of the Patent Act,” and affirmed that “the Promise Doctrine is not the correct method of determining whether the utility requirement under s. 2 of the Patent Act is met.” The Court went on to label the Doctrine as “antagonistic to the bargain on which patent law is based wherein we ask inventors to give fulsome disclosure in exchange for a limited monopoly.” Since the Doctrine was first put in place in 2005, it has resulted in the overturn of 26 patents involving 22 innovative medicines.

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion intellectual property (IP) rights as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.