A February 2010 blog, “Professional Designations and Abbreviations, Acronyms and Initials” discussed the summary judgment and permanent injunction obtained by the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia (“the College”) against the Council of Natural Medicine College of Canada (“the Council”) pursuant to which certain trademarks which the Council had registered, such D.C.T.M (DOCTOR OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE) and REGISTERED D.P.C.M, were expunged on the basis that the marks were clearly descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive (contrary to s.12(1)(b) of the Trade-Marks Act) and recognised in Canada as designating the services of doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncturists (and therefore contrary to s.10). The Council was also enjoined from registering similar trademarks. The Council appealed this decision, but subsequently discontinued the appeal.
The Council did, however, bring an application for judicial review asking the Federal Court to set aside the notice given by the Registrar of Trade-marks of the adoption and use by the College of various official marks, including D.C.T.M (DOCTOR OF TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE) and REGISTERED D.P.C.M. Section 9(1)(n)iii) grants protection to “any public authority” in Canada that adopts and uses a mark and in respect of which the Registrar of Trade-marks has given notice. In Council of Natural Medicine College of Canada v. College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia the Federal Court concluded that the official marks were valid and that section 9(1)(n)(iii) was constitutional.
As explained in the decision, the Council is a private non-profit company incorporated under federal legislation which created educational programs in traditional Chinese medicine. The courses were offered by affiliated private schools. Prior to the earlier Federal Court decision the Council also entered into trademark licence agreements with the graduates of its programs. The College, however, had been established under the British Columbia Health Professions Act to regulate the practice of traditional Chinese medicine, including the titles that could be used by practitioners. Read more