Canadian government amends Trademark Act

The Canadian government has introduced a series of amendments to the Copyright Act and the Trademarks Act with the Combating Counterfeit Products Act, otherwise known as Bill C-56.

These changes were implemented on March 1st with the aim to bring in legislation that targets counterfeit products entering Canada with a view to protect public safety and health by stopping them. There are also technical amendments made to the Trademarks Act to allow for non-traditional trademarks, like sound marks, to become eligible for registration.

Bill C-56 will allow the registration of trademarks that were not previously possible. Things such as colours, holograms, scent, texture and sound will now be available for trademarking. The bill will also become more stringent in places, limiting the registration of trademarks that are utilitarian or not distinctive in fact.

The Canadian government has now streamlined the whole trademark registration process by simplifying some of the main requirements. The entire process will now be facilitated with electronic documents to allow the process to become more modernized and simplified.

Another element of the change will see the Trademarks Opposition Board gain more powers. It will now have the power to strike part, or in some cases all, of a statement of opposition.

Previously, written representations were filed with the Trademarks Opposition Board, but this will now be changed to ensure they are served on the adverse party. These filing requirements will come into effect in opposition proceedings.

As soon as a registrant file a trademark application they will need to give a description of the trademark, a list of the goods or services for which it is sought, and any prescribed fees. However if the application omits any of the required information, they then have two months from the date of notice to submit the outstanding information or risk losing their application fees.

Registrants of trademarks will also now be allowed to correct errors that appear in the trademark register as part of the amendment.

The new changes should enable the trademark registration process to become more simplified in Canada.