Status update: Canada's trademark overhaul

13 February 2017


The Director General of the Trademarks Branch of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has advised that the sweeping and ambitious reforms to Canada’s Trade-marks Act are now expected to come into force in early 2019.

The new trademark landscape is a game-changer for brands in Canada: use will no longer be a requirement to secure registration. The Madrid Protocol will be implemented, together with the Nice classification and filing fees per class.  Registration for non-traditional marks such as holograms, moving images, scents, and tastes will be permitted, as will divisional applications. Set against new enforcement mechanisms, it is a dynamic and exciting time for brand owners in Canada.    

In anticipation of these changes, trademark owners may wish to continue to assess and keep in mind, amongst other things, whether their current registrations fully protect their business activity in Canada.  This will become particularly important with a crowded Canadian trademark register on the horizon.

Further developments relating to the implementation of the changes to the Trade-marks Act (including the development and approval of new regulations and implementation of new Office procedures) will be reported as they occur. In the meantime, we invite you to contact your Gowling WLG trademark professional to discuss how these changes may impact you. 

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