Trademark, copyright, or both?

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.

Distinctly (not) distinctive

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.

A look back: What you need to remember from 2018 in trademark law

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.