In her article (read here), our colleague Caroline Camp reviews the recent Trademark Opposition Board (the “Board”) case of Pablo Enterprise pte. Ltd. v Hai Lun Tang, 2019 TMOB 54. As Caroline discusses, this case serves as an important reminder that trademark and copyright protection can and do overlap. Moreover, the case confirms that the Board has jurisdiction to assess certain copyright claims within the context of a trademark opposition. Accordingly, if an applicant attempts to register a trademark which includes design elements that are already subject to third party copyright protection (registered or not), the copyright owner may oppose registration on grounds that the applicant is not entitled to use the mark because such use constitutes copyright infringement.
Canada joining the Madrid international trademark filing system earlier this year came as welcome news to much of the international trademark community. Hidden in that euphoria however, are a couple of Canadian quirks that are likely to trip up unwary applicants and their foreign trademark Counsel.
This Knowledge Bytes article, reviews the limited Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) communications that will be sent to the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) and to foreign representatives of applicants who designate Canada in their applications for international registration. The bottom line is that a resident Canadian trademark agent should be appointed for all such applications, so that important communications from CIPO not go astray or languish, unattended, for an undue period of time.
The Supreme Court of Canada recently denied leave to appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal’s (the “FCA”) decision in Sadhu Singh Hamdard Trust v. Navsun Holdings Ltd., 2019 FCA 10 (CanLII). Caroline Camp writes about the implications of the case. Most interesting is that the FCA confirmed that intervening use of a mark by a third party, even if that use amounts to infringement of a registered trademark, can be sufficient to cause the registered mark to lose its distinctiveness and therefore become unenforceable. So the mantra “use it or lose it” is actually “use it and enforce it or lose it” in Canadian trademark practice. Read her complete article here.
As summer comes to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the significant case law developments that occurred in 2018, which have, and continue to have, an impact on Canadian trademark law and practice. Our colleague Scott Lamb is a contributor to CLE BC’s perennially anticipated Annual Review of Law & Practice, writing the Trademarks chapter. Key litigation developments from last year are succinctly summarized in an excerpt from Scott’s chapter here.
In a recent Federal Court Trial Division decision, the trademark registration for LIVE, registered in association with, among other things, hotel, entertainment and advertising services, was expunged for non-use during the relevant three year period. The Court reviewed a number of conflicting decisions on the use of marks in Canada in the context of non-use cancellation proceedings, where the primary service is performed outside of Canada – for example, the relevant hotel or entertainment establishment is physically located outside Canada – but some ancillary or related aspect of the services could be said to be performed in Canada – for example reservations for the hotel or for tickets to the entertainment venue could be made by Canadians while physically located in Canada.
The Court reiterated that in order for there to be use of a mark in Canada, it is essential that some aspect of the services must be offered directly to Canadians or performed in Canada and that it must be demonstrated that people in Canada obtained “some tangible, meaningful, benefit” from the use of the Mark in association with the registered service. In expunging the registration, the Court found that “simply holding a reservation for a hotel in the US is not a tangible and meaningful benefit enjoyed in Canada, despite that it may ensure that a room will be available upon arrival. The tangible benefit occurs only once the person leaves Canada and travels to the US and fulfills the reservation.” A similar conclusion was arrived at in relation to entertainment services. The advertising services were not performed for any third party, meaning there was no trademark use.
Barring an appeal, the decision is noteworthy as it appears to be counter to a recent Federal Court decision involving hotel services provided in very similar circumstances. In this case, the Judge distinguished the earlier decision, on the basis that “Unlike in Hilton, there are no rewards points that can be used in Canada. …Rewards points could not be earned in Canada or redeemed in Canada. There is no evidence of a tangible, meaningful benefit enjoyed in Canada from making an online reservation.“
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office will be taking its efiling systems for trademarks down from Thursday, June 13, 2019, at 00:00 EDT to Monday, June 17, 2019, at 06:00 EDT, for system upgrades and enhancements.
How does this affect Applicants and owners of trademark Registrations in Canada? Among other things, this outage will affect:
• e-Filing of new Trademark Applications;
• Registration of pending Applications; and
• Renewal of existing Registrations
Long awaited and significant changes to Canadian Trademark law – many of which have been previously discussed in this Blog – don’t come into force until June 17, 2019 (the CIF Date). However, with the above systems outage, anyone hoping to file a new application or to renew an existing registration – with the intent of doing so under the current, lower pricing that is not tied to the number of Nice classes of goods/services covered – will need to do so prior to midnight (EDT) on June 12, 2019. The same time limit applies to anyone hoping to finalize registration of an allowed application with the intent of obtaining a 15 year term, rather than the 10 year term available for registrations that issue after the CIF Date.
Please contact the author for more information or advice on the above.
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has announced that as of March 17, 2019, Canada has formally acceded to the Singapore Treaty, the Madrid Protocol and the Nice Agreement. All three of these treaties will come into force in Canada on June 17, 2019.
According to CIPO “As of that date, trademark owners in Canada will be able to apply for trademark protection in more than 100 jurisdictions through a single application, in one language, with one set of fees and in one currency.”
June 17, 2019 will also be the coming into force date for numerous other significant changes to Canadian trademark practice. Please see our recent post which explains some of the most important changes. These are exciting times for trademark owners and their legal Counsel in Canada!