Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes? CIPO’s Client Consultations Continue

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office has engaged in a number of client consultations recently.  Considering changes to Section 45 practice, changes to practice before the Opposition Board – even changes to the method by which it publishes practice notices – CIPO has been soliciting client and stakeholder views.  (On the Opposition point, CIPO’s changes to practice before the Board came into effect on March 31, 2009.)

CIPO is now engaged in a new consultation – this one concerning three separate issues.  The first concerns deadlines for responding to Examiner reports.  CIPO is proposing to extend the deadline for responding to such reports from four to six months.

The second concerns deadlines for responding to CIPO’s requests for outstanding information concerning transfers.  Here, CIPO is proposing doing away with such deadlines altogether, though of course the transfer will not be effected it CIPO’s records until all required materials have been provided. Read more

Limited Evidence of Use on Section 45 Proceeding

Brouilette Kosie Prince v. Great Harvesting Franchising, Inc. involved two Appeals under section 56 of the Trade-marks Act from decisions of the Opposition Board.  The Appellant had sought, unsuccessfully, to have the Registrar expunge two trademarks pursuant to section 45 of the Act, namely two design trademarks, both for GREAT HARVEST BREAD CO. & DESIGN.  The one was registered for use in association with the services of “operation and franchising of retail bakery shops”.  The second was registered for the same services, as well as services described as “franchising services, namely offering technical assistance in the establishment and/or operation of retail bakeries and retail bakery shop services” and wares described as “bakery goods, namely bread, cookies, muffins, and cinnamon rolls; wheat; jams and jellies; clothing, namely hats, sweatshirts, aprons, t-shirts and sweaters”.

The Federal Court agreed with the Opposition Board that the one mark registered solely in respect of the services could be maintained in its entirety and the other could be maintained in part.

In the course of the section 45 proceeding, the owner of the trademark had provided a Statutory Declaration that included two photographs (the first showing bread baskets sitting on a portable table in a mall, with a banner pinned to the table and the second showing the banner with the trademark in full), a page from a booklet regarding how to become a franchisee, and four labels, together with invoices of sales for one particular day in the three-year period preceding the Section 45 Notice.  No further evidence was provided by the owner of the trademark on the Appeal. Read more

Window of Opportunity: Extra savings on CTM applications until May 1, 2009

While not, strictly speaking, a Canadian trade-mark issue, many Canadian trade-mark owners will be interested in this limited time opportunity to save money while obtaining protection for their marks in the European Union.

The official fees for European Union Community Trade-mark (“CTM”) applications are being reduced by about 40% (from EU 1,600 to EU 900).

In addition, applicants who apply before May 1, 2009 can save an extra EU 150, because while the final registration fee (EU 850) has already been eliminated, the minimal increase in filing fees (from EU 750 to EU 900) does not take effect until May 1, 2009.

We encourage trade-mark owners considering CTM applications to act quickly to take advantage of the extra savings available before May 1, 2009.

Psion’s NETBOOK Trademark Under Fire

The dispute over Psion’s NETBOOK trademark registrations has crept further into the mainstream, following recent decisions by Dell and Intel to take legal action against Psion in the US.

For those of you who missed it, Psion is a mobile computing device manufacturer whose head office is located in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Psion holds registrations for the trade-mark NETBOOK in Canada, the US, in Singapore, Hong Kong and in the CTM system.

In December, Psion sent letters to manufacturers and retailers in an attempt to “affirm” its NETBOOK trademarks. To this end, the letters requested the recipients to stop using NETBOOK to describe ultra-portable laptop computers.  Psion followed up with similar correspondence to journalists and bloggers in January. Read more

JAVACAFÉ: Clearly Descriptive in the French Language

Following up on an earlier blog posting, we note that the Supreme Court of Canada has refused leave to appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision in Shell Canada Limited v. P.T. Sari Incofood Corporation

The Court of Appeal earlier concluded that JAVACAFÉ when sounded as two words was clearly descriptive, in French, of the claimed wares, namely, coffee products.

In Canada, Fraud on the Trademarks Office Requires Actual Fraud – Court Rejects U.S. Doctrine

The Federal Court recently made clear that Canadian law does not recognize a rule equivalent to the U.S. doctrine of fraud on the trademark office, pursuant to which any material mistatement in the processing of a registation renders the entire resulting registration void.

In Parfums de Coeur, Ltd. V. Asta the respondent individual filed a trademark application in 1999 based on proposed use of the trademark BOD in association with wares identified as “hair care, namely shampoo conditioner, treatment, styling aids, hairsprays, hairpolish, perms, … .” The respondent subsequently filed a Declaration of Use signed February 12, 2004 declaring that by himself or through a licensee he had commenced use of the trademark in association with all the listed wares. The applicant began selling body sprays in Canada in association with the trademark BOD MAN as early as 2002, but when it sought registration in Canada, the respondent’s mark was cited against it. When challenged regarding his Declaration of Use, the respondent amended the list of wares to read only “hair care, namely shampoo, conditioner”. Read more

Canadian Distiller Wins Latest Round In Trademark Battle

Just in time for Robbie Burns day, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that a Canadian distiller of whiskey can use the word GLEN in its trademark, without misleading Canadian consumers into thinking that its product is whiskey that is from Scotland.  This is the latest round in the battle by Bedford, Nova Scotia based Glenora Distillers to register the mark GLEN BRETON in the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in association with its single malt whiskey.  There’s no word yet on whether the Scotch Whiskey Association will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.