Third Extension by CIPO to Trademark Deadlines Due to COVID-19: Until May 19, 2020

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office has once again extended its earlier automatic extensions (previously covering deadlines falling between March 16, 2020 and April 30, 2020, as discussed here). As a result of COVID-19 disruptions, deadlines falling between March 16, 2020 and now May 15, 2020 have been extended until at least May 19, 2020 (the day after the Victoria Day long weekend in Canada).

As before, there may be further extensions announced by CIPO. While CIPO continues to experience delays in its operations, it has been working to resume most of its activities since March.

As a best practice, we recommend still meeting the original deadlines for all Canadian trademark matters, where possible. Clark Wilson LLP’s trademark group remains accessible and available to assist, and is working to meet such deadlines where we have timely instructions.

CIPO’s latest announcement on these automatic extensions, first made March 17, 2020 (and last updated April 27, 2020), can be found here.

CIPO Further Extends Trademark Deadlines until at least May 1, 2020 due to COVID-19

As noted earlier, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office had extended deadlines falling between March 16, 2020 and March 31, 2020 automatically until April 1, 2020. In light of the ongoing disruption and uncertainty due to COVID-19, CIPO has now further extended that earlier automatic extension.

All deadlines falling between March 16, 2020 and April 30, 2020 will now automatically be extended until at least May 1, 2020. Further extensions may be announced by CIPO, based on how the situation evolves in the coming weeks. CIPO has also indicated that while it remains open, significant delays should be expected for all CIPO services.

As a best practice, we recommend still meeting the original deadlines for all Canadian trademark matters, where possible. Clark Wilson LLP’s trademark group remains accessible and available to assist, and is working to meet such deadlines where we have timely instructions.

CIPO’s latest announcement on these automatic extensions, first made March 17, 2020 (and last updated March 27, 2020), can be found here.

The Utility of Recent Force Majeure Amendments to Canadian Trademark Law

In 2014 and 2015, Canada passed a number of amendments to its Trademarks Act allowing for extensions of time due to unforeseen circumstances. These amendments were driven, in part, by the Northeast Blackout of 2003, in which millions of people (including 10 million in Ontario) lost power for two or more days. As a result, some IP practitioners were unable to meet deadlines falling on those days – prompting calls for amendments allowing extensions for “force majeure” events to the Patent Act, the Trademarks Act, and the Industrial Design Act.

Although these amendments were enacted more than a decade after this blackout, these “force majeure” provisions have become incredibly relevant in the context of unprecedented challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The words “force majeure” do not appear in the Canadian Trademarks Act. However, at least three provisions now afford trademark owners and the Registrar of Trademarks some flexibility in addressing the effects of so-called “acts of God” under Canadian law—events beyond a party’s control which make performance of their obligations impossible. The relevant provisions:

  • allow for an extension of time to claim priority for a period of up to seven days in certain circumstances (section 34(5));
  • allow for an extension of time to pay renewal fees for a period of up to seven days in certain circumstances (section 46(5)); and
  • allow the Registrar to designate time periods in which deadlines are automatically extended to the next day outside of the time period, on account of unforeseen circumstances and when it is in the public interest to do so (section 66(2)).

This last provision came into force on November 5, 2018. Less than two years later, the Registrar exercised this power to designate March 16, 2020 to March 31, 2020 as days during which any deadline is automatically extended—in this case, to April 1, 2020. The Registrar may further extend this period, but at the time of writing we have no confirmation in this regard.

Parties wishing to rely upon the prior two provisions ought to refer to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s Practice Notice “Extensions of time due to force majeure for priority and renewal”, published June 17, 2019. Notably, the Practice Notice makes specific reference to “virus/bacterial epidemic outbreaks” as an example of a potential force majeure event.

CIPO Extends Trademark Deadlines until at least April 1, 2020 due to COVID-19

On account of the COVID-19 situation, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office has just announced that all deadlines falling between March 16, 2020 and March 31, 2020 will automatically be extended until at least April 1, 2020. In light of the uncertainty around the evolving situation, the period for automatic extensions may be further extended.

CIPO’s complete announcement, first made March 17, 2020 (and last updated March 19, 2020), can be found here.

There’s Something About The 17th – The Tinkering Continues With More Canadian Trademark Practice Changes

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) has published amended Practice Notices and a Guidance document on Nice Classification, Divisional Applications and Temporary Appointment of Trademark Agents. Issued January 17, 2020, these changes have immediate effect and have material implications for prosecuting trademark applications at CIPO.

Read more in this Knowledge Bytes article.

 

Communication Breakdown: Canadian Quirks to Madrid Trademark Filing System that Foreign Applicants and their Counsel need to know

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.

Canadian Trademark eFiling Systems Outage from June 13 to 17, 2019 – What you need to be aware of

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.