CIPO’s Electronic Services Outage

For those of us who have embraced – and perhaps take for granted – the ease and convenience of filing documents online with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, the last two days have been trying ones. All systems of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, including the Trademark Database as well as the Online Filing Portal, were offline from late in the afternoon on September 30th, until earlier this morning, October 2nd. (Even now, the site seems a little shaky: pages load properly one minute and are unavailable the next.)

Recently released trade-mark statistics (which we blogged about a few months back) indicate that just over 45,000 applications were filed in the last twelve-month period for which stats are available. Of these, 90% were filed online. Crunching the numbers, that works out to be approximately 110 applications filed online, each day. Read more

Making Room On The Brandwagon

Here at the Canadian Trade-mark Blog, our first-ever post focused on Interbrand’s 2006 Best Global Brands Survey. As we’ve tracked the survey over the years, we’ve noted several constants – like COCA-COLA’s stranglehold on the number one spot, the predominance of US-brands in the top 10, and the sparse number of Canadian brands from the top 100.

The 2008 Best Global Brands survey was released last week, and little has changed: COCA-COLA took the top spot again and US-brands continue to dominate the top 10. However, we’re pleased to report that the list now features twice as many Canadian brands as last year.

At number 44 is THOMSON REUTERS – formerly The Thomson Corporation – who engaged in extensive advertising of its new brand following its merger with Reuters Group earlier this year.

Canada’s new addition? Charging in at number 73 is… Read more

Hyundai Keeps On Motoring

An update on a battle we previously blogged about: the fight between, in one corner, Hyundai Auto Canada, a division of Hyundai Motor America (“Hyundai Canada”); and in the other corner, Cross Canada Auto Body Supply (West) Limited, Cross Canada Auto Body Supply (Windsor) Limited and AT Pac West Auto Parts Enterprise Ltd. (together, for the sake of brevity, the “Resellers”).

You may recall that in that case, the Resellers were re-selling automotive parts and accessories, including Hyundai automotive parts and accessories, in Canada. The Resellers sought expungement of five Hyundai-related marks in Canada owned by Hyundai Canada, claiming that all of the marks were non-distinctive, and further claiming that three of the marks had been abandoned.

(This central action spawned several others: in one, Hyundai Canada sought – though ultimately failed to obtain – an injunction to preclude the Resellers’ use of the Hyundai-related marks on the automotive parts packaging they offered for sale.  Other related actions included disagreements over the production of documents, and the appropriateness of photocopying and other charges.) Read more

Canada’s Trademark Opposition Practice Changing Again?

In case you missed it: the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has commenced a public consultation session concerning possible changes in practice before the Trademark Opposition Board.

These proposed changes follow on the heels of – and are likely motivated by – changes introduced to Opposition Board practice last fall. Many practitioners were surprised by those changes, and found frustration in some of the ambiguities contained in that Practice Notice, issued nearly a year ago.

The newly proposed Notice appears designed to remedy these problems: it provides greater clarity with respect to the number of available extensions and the possible duration thereof, and offers extensive guidance concerning the nature of the “exceptional circumstances” required to obtain an extension at certain stages of a proceeding. Read more

Red Cross Lawsuit Settled

In an earlier post discussing the protection of the Red Crystal in Canada, we noted that the American arm of the Red Cross movement had been sued by Johnson & Johnson over its licensing of the iconic red cross emblem to for-profit companies for use on commercial products.

In a pair of court decisions–one released last November and in a second released in in mid-May–the court dismissed the bulk of Johnson & Johnson’s claims that the American Red Cross could not use the symbol in commercially competitive activities.

On Tuesday, the parties announced that they had settled the outstanding matters in their dispute. Though the terms of settlement were not released, both the American Red Cross and Johnson & Johnson will continue to use the emblem in conjunction with their endeavors.

From “Hockey Night” to Trademark Fight?

Much has been written in the Canadian popular press in the last week respecting “The Hockey Night in Canada Theme”, sometimes called “The Hockey Theme” – the familiar music which has accompanied broadcasts of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Hockey Night in Canada” telecasts nearly every Saturday night during the hockey season, for the last 39 years. The music is well-known to most Canadians, hockey-lovers or not: it is frequently referred to “Canada’s Second National Anthem.”

Late last week, it appeared that negotiations to renew the recently expired license agreement between the CBC and Copyright Music and Visuals (agent for the rights-holder, Dolores Claman) fell through: Copyright Music and Visuals announced the CBC had elected not to renew their license, ending their long relationship with Claman. The popular press quickly picked up on the news: articles bemoaning the end of the long and storied history of the song on the CBC filled the weekend papers; hockey fans on radio call-in shows and on the internet grieved the loss of the song; Facebook groups were organized to prepare petitions for the “Preservation of the Hockey Night in Canada Theme”.

With a new week, came new hopes: on Monday morning, the CBC announced it had appointed a well-known entertainment lawyer to assist it in making a deal for a new licensing arrangement. Then, in a somewhat surprising move, rival network CTV (owner of the popular TSN and RDS sports stations) announced it had “saved” the song, completing a deal that, according to press reports, gives it the right to use the song “in perpetuity” in association with its NHL hockey broadcasts, as well as in association with its hockey coverage as part of the 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games. Read more

Opposition and Expungement Proceeding Info Added to CIPO’s Online Database

Following up on an announcement we told you about a few weeks ago, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has now added information respecting pending trademark opposition and Section 45 (summary expungement) proceedings to its online database.

Working with the information over the last several days, our experience has been that it is a little out of date, relative to the actual status of proceedings. Nonetheless, CIPO’s decision to enhance public access to this information will be beneficial to trademark owners, brand advisors, and their counsel.