Janice Bereskin authored an article in the Wolters Kluwer Trademark blog "Canada – an Update from the North"

March 3, 2020

Much has changed since the new Canadian Trademarks Act came into effect on June 17th 2019. Although practitioners were advised well in advance of the legislative and regulatory changes, there were many surprises, some unwelcome. Below are a few noteworthy changes that applicants should be well aware of before filing in Canada.

New "Non-Distinctive" ground of examination

Canadian examiners now frequently raise this objection at the same time as descriptiveness objections. This objection not infrequently is raised against geographical names of obscure towns or villages having no connection with the origin of the goods, tag lines, numbers and letters. It's hard to say whether the reason is due to relatively inexperienced examiners, or whether this is the result of a direction by more experienced Office staff. The Act contains numerous provisions dealing with the registrability of marks having questionable inherent distinctiveness, so the widespread use of this objection-often in disregard of common sense- is believed to be unnecessary, costly and plain wrong.

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This article was first published in the Kluwer Trademark Blog on March 2nd, 2020.

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