June 17, 2019, remains a memorable date in the history of the Canadian trademark law. On that day, implementations were effected on the trademark laws in Canada. This is after a long time of speculation. The drastic changes have had a major impact on the enforcement and scope of Canadian trademark law. Below are some of the changes.
Initially, you would pay C$250 as trademark application fees. This was applicable to a single class. The fees hiked to C$300 after the changes took effect. In addition, C$100 is now applicable to any extra class.
Renewal fees too have been affected. The initial figure of C$125 has significantly risen to C$400. This calls for keenness on the applicant’s side. If you had already registered your trademark, you should review your classes when it’s time to renew your registration.
15 years was the initial trademark term. After the changes took effect, the trademarked term reduced to 10 years. This means any registration or renewal done after the 17th of June 2019 will be valid for 10 years.
This also translates to more pay more for fewer years. Clearly, it now costs more to register or renew trademarks in Canada.
International Trademark Agreements
Canada is now on the list of countries that are part of international trade agreements. The country is part of the Madrid Protocol. This means, your trademark will not only be recognized in Canada but also other select countries worldwide.
Initially, this was not possible. You had to do separate applications for your trademark to be recognized elsewhere. This change means you will spend less money in the form of application fees. Furthermore, you will not be subjected to additional application processes.
Amends on Proof of use
Previous laws required you to specify the date when you first used the trademark you are trying to register. If not, you had to provide the date you made a foreign registration for brands registered outside Canada.
You now no longer need to provide proof of the use of trademarks. We could say, the Canadian laws have become lenient on this. This does not render the proof of use irrelevant.
The proof of use can still be utilized in a number of ways. You can use it to oppose a competitor’s trademark registration. Or, to invalidate trademark squatters. The main objective of this change was to streamline the trademark registration process.
Trademark has been redefined
This is not to mean the term trademark has been given a different definition. Instead, the definition initially used has only been expanded. Texture and holograms are now captured in the new definition. Not only that, tastes and scents too. The new expanded meaning now includes anything signifying source.
The advantage of this is you now have increased ways of trademark creation and registration. You can, therefore, protect your brand better.
Proof of uniqueness
Initially, you could get your trademark registered even with little distinction from other trademarks. After June 17, 2019, things changed. Your trademark must be distinct and with proof of uniqueness for it to be successfully registered. Therefore, expect your application to go through a test of distinction before approval.
There are two ways to attain distinctiveness. One is through uniqueness. This means standing out from the rest. The other way is through use. The mere fact that your trademark has been and is still in use is enough to grant the label distinction status.
Nice – The New Classification System
The Canadian Trademark law amendment saw Canada adopt a different classification system. This system is more popular and in use by member nations of the powerful World Trade Organization (WTO). This makes applications more categorical.
The ripple effect of this change is felt in the costs. Applicants are now forced to spend more on applications and renewals.
In the previous system, a single application fee was paid irrespective of the kind of products registered for. All you needed to do was submit a list of the products/services you wanted to be protected by the trademark.
The Nice system is quite different. Individual goods or services fall under different classes. Each class has varying prices. At the same time, goods or services in different classes cannot be given the same treatment. This means you will have to pay separate fees for goods and services in different classes. That is why you will end up paying more in registration and renewal fees.
Allowance to revise your application
Times change, so do needs. The new implementations allow you to change your application from multiple to single and the reverse. Initially, there was no provision to merge or divide an application. Now, you can.
This possibility is again for those whose application is facing opposition. A quick division or merger allows you to quickly proceed with your application. This helps fasten the filing process and reduce delays initially experienced before the amends were made.
The changes in Canadian trademark law are a clear indication of the significance of trademark registration. The lawmakers’ goal to streamline the process shows how urgent businesses need to register their trademarks. It is now faster and easier to have your application processed in Canada. Although, it comes at a cost since the fees have risen significantly. This should not stop companies from registering trademarks. Long after the costs have been forgotten, the benefits will stand. In a nutshell, the changes have greatly improved the registration process.