I had to double check my various calendars to make sure that this is not April 1, 2012. That important date is still four weeks and two days hence.
Nonetheless, the extremely respected patent blog, Patently-O, is reporting that:
Copyright: Law firms Sued for Submitting Prior Art to the USPTOSee the whole Patently-O blog with further links here.
The Hoboken publishing company (John Wiley) and the non-profit American Institute of Physics have continued their quest to pursue copyright infringement charges against US patent attorneys who submit copies of journal articles to the US Patent Office during the patent application process. The submission of those documents is required by law and attorneys who fail to submit known and relevant prior art can be subject to ethics charges and the associated patents held unenforceable. Earlier this year, the US Patent Office issued a memo indicating its belief that copying and submitting copyrighted documents should be considered a non-actionable fair use. Firms already pay for access to the articles and the USPTO also has its own access to most of the articles. The issue is whether the patent applicants must pay an additional fee for making a copy for the USPTO and an additional copy for the in-house file.
One can only hope that this doesn't give Access Copyright ideas in Canada.