The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology held its clause-by-clause review of Bill C-8, the anti-counterfeiting bill yesterday. I appeared before the committee last month to express concerns about some lobbyist demands for reforms, including removing the exception for personal goods of travelers, the inclusion of statutory damages for trademark infringement, and targeting in-transit shipments.
While the committee did not complete the review of the bill – it will resume on Wednesday – the surprise of the day involved Liberal MP Judy Sgro proposing that the government remove the exception for personal travelers. Given that personal use exceptions are even included in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, it is shocking to see any party proposing their removal, which would result in longer delays at the border and increased searches of individual travelers. The proposal failed since it was rejected by both the Conservatives and NDP, with the NDP noting that “this was one of the important provisions that brought some balance to the bill.”
The committee did pass several amendments proposed by the Conservatives that include allowing for information to be shared by border officials and rights holders for the purposes of settlements and expanding those goods encompassed by the law that are not yet trademark protected (the example given was the use of a trademark on a related item). The NDP proposed a misuse provision by rights holders be added to the bill, but that was defeated. The review of the bill continues on Wednesday, but the big story of the first day of review was the Liberal’s support of lobby groups seeking to crack down on consumers.