While response to last week's federal budget unsurprisingly focused on new spending, it also included a commitment to create an expert independent panel to conduct a review of Canadian competition policy. Given that the Minister of Industry envisions a broad mandate to "review anything under the federal umbrella that affects competition within the Canadian economy", intellectual property ought to form a part of that review. I've written about the intersection between anti-circumvention legislation and competition policy, while others have expressed concern about competition and copyright, patents, and trademarks. The media may focus on foreign investment restrictions, but Canadians might be better served by analysis of an IP regime that supports innovation and competition by paying close attention to striking the right balance. As Supreme Court Justice Binnie reminded us when discussing the copyright balance in the Theberge decision:
The proper balance among these and other public policy objectives lies not only in recognizing the creator's rights but in giving due weight to their limited nature. In crassly economic terms it would be as inefficient to overcompensate artists and authors for the right of reproduction as it would be self-defeating to undercompensate them.