On June 19th 2014 the Government of Canada’s Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 was given Royal Assent and with it comes amendments to the Trade-marks Act.

Notable changes include:

  • Language changes: ‘goods’ replaces ‘wares’, ‘trademark’ replaces ‘trade-mark’, ‘tradename’ replaces ‘trade-name’ and we see the removal of the term ‘distinguishing guise’;
  • The definition of trademark and certification mark is widened to allow a ‘combination of signs’ that may include ‘a word, a personal name, a design, a letter, a numeral, a colour, a figurative element, a three-dimensional shape, a hologram, a moving image, a mode of packaging goods, a sound, a scent, a taste, a texture and the positioning of a sign’;
  • The introduction of the requirement to reference the ‘Nice Classification’ system for goods and services;
  • A trademark is able to be challenged on the basis that it is ‘likely to unreasonably limit the development of art or industry’;
  • The date of first use in Canada is no longer required in a trademark application;
  • An applicant is no longer required to submit a declaration of use;
  • The term of a registered trademark has been changed from 15 years to 10 years;

These changes will come into force in the near future, the specific date to be set by an order of the Governor in Council.

Further changes to the Trade-marks Act have recently been proposed with the introduction of Bill C-611, which aims to amend the sections relating to official marks.  As it is early days, we will have to wait and see if these amendments are accepted.

We are happy to assist any of our clients with trademark registration.  Please contact Barbeau, Evans & Goldstein with any queries you may have.

Chris J.W. Austin, LL.B., Legal Assistant