Maple Melee Meets End?

There is an update available to an earlier story we blogged concerning an ongoing dispute between American Clothing Associates SA and the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM).  We previously reported that a mark integrating Canada’s well-known maple leaf symbol could not be registered in the CTM because it contained the maple leaf, and accordingly improperly connoted an association with Canada.

In a decision released July 16th, the European Court of Justice dismissed American Clothing Associates’ appeal of this decision, and concluded that the maple leaf emblem was indeed protected as a state emblem.

Good coverage of the decision is available at German Trademark Law In A Nutshell – and thanks to Chris of GTLIAN for alerting us to the decision’s release.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: CIPO Changes Section 45 Procedures

It’s been a busy year for CIPO, and the organization is yet again amending some of its practices.  This time it has s. 45 in its sights.

As regular readers know, s. 45 of the Trade-marks Act provides a mechanism by which an interested party can seek to summarily expunge a registered trade-mark for three years of non-use.  CIPO sought public input on a proposed changes to s. 45 practice earlier this year, and last week introduced its new practice notice, which is slated to come into effect on September 14, 2009.

Like the recent changes to Opposition proceedings, the changes to s. 45 practice appear aimed at streamlining the process.  Most notably, the planned changes limit the extensions of time available for the submission of evidence.  The current standard is an extension of three months with additional extensions available on consent or if exceptional circumstances are shown.  The new standard provides for one extension of four months, and establishes that grants of additional extensions will be rare: neither the the consent of the parties to additional extensions, nor the parties’ engagement in settlement discussions  will be seen by the Office as sufficient reason to provide additional time. Read more

Ch-ch-ch-ch changes!

Following up on one of our earlier posts, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office recently adopted a couple of revisions to its examination practices.

Since June 17, the Office has been providing six month periods to respond to Examiner objections, as opposed to the four month window previously provided.  In addition, the Office is no longer issuing ‘doubtful case’ or ‘courtesy letters’ – those letters that were sent to trade-mark applicants identifying co-pending applications for allegedly confusing marks having a later entitlement date.

This latter change reinforces the importance of both having watch services in place, and regularly reviewing the Trade-marks Journal for the advertisement of marks of interest.

…and then quickly wanes.

An update to the post below: the Supreme Court of Canada announced this morning that the Scotch Whiskey Association has been unsuccessful in obtaining leave to appeal before the Court.  A panel of three judges dismissed the Association’s leave request, with costs.

As such, the decision from the Court of Appeal will stand: Glenora Distillers will be permitted to register its application for GLEN BRETON.

Whiskey War Waxes On

In several earlier posts, we’ve tracked the ongoing battle between Glenora Distillers and the Scotch Whiskey Association respecting the propriety of Glenora’s use of the word GLEN in its trademark GLEN BRETON.   Most recently, the Federal Court of Appeal found that Glenora was able to use GLEN without misleading Canadian consumers into thinking its product originated in Scotland.

News today that this brouhaha may not be over quite yet: it appears that the Scotch Whiskey Association has sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Stay tuned!

Free iPhone Bike App Sparks Dispute

The Montreal Gazette and La Presse each recently reported on the decision by the Stationnement de Montréal (“SdM”) to assert intellectual property rights against the developer of an iPhone application which pinpoints the locations of public-use bicycles made available for rental by the SdM.

Sparko.ca developed a free iPhone application called BixiMobile, together with a supporting webpage located at www.biximobile.com, to assist online users with finding Bixi bike locations throughout Montreal. The application launched on Sunday; by Tuesday, Sparko had received a cease-and-desist letter from Stationnement de Montréal’s counsel directing the company to withdraw the application, and hand over the domain.  Perhaps more interestingly, it appears SdM have additionally directed Sparko to hand over the code that supports the iPhone application. Read more

Psion Capitulates In Netbook Battle

Following up on a story we reported earlier this year, Mississaugua, Ontario-based Psion Teklogix appears to have resolved its trademark dispute with Intel Corporation by undertaking to withdraw all of its NETBOOK trademark registrations.  As regular readers of our blog will recall, Psion’s registrations for NETBOOK were being challenged in a number of jurisdictions, including Canada, by Intel and others on the bases of non-use and non-distinctiveness.

While the Psion press release makes no specific reference to the terms of settlement, it seems likely that Intel persuaded Psion to formally abandon the NETBOOK brand by providing a cash payment to the Canadian company.  It is not clear to what extent, if any, Dell Inc. – who had joined Intel in attacking Psion’s registrations – was a formal part of any such settlement.

The news of the settlement is not particularly surprising: Psion had a long and expensive row to hoe defending the various actions in the jurisdictions in which it was under attack, let alone asserting its rights around the world to stave off allegations of non-distinctiveness / genericide.  Moreover, Intel and Dell no doubt both had more resources to apply to the case than Psion did.  Given all of that, the cost-benefit analysis pushes one to settlement pretty quickly. Read more