The recent Federal Court case of Sanders v. Smart & Biggar Intellectual Property and Technology Law is a good example of the difference that well prepared evidence can make. The Trademarks Opposition Board expunged the applicant’s trade-mark, “UGGLY BOOTS” pursuant to section 45 of the Trade-marks Act because the applicant had not demonstrated use of the trademark in Canada. The Board found that the applicant’s evidence was “rampant with ambiguities” and omissions.
The applicant appealed to the Federal Court pursuant to section 56 of the Act. The applicant was allowed to present new evidence and the appeal was treated as a new hearing. The applicant’s new evidence consisted of the affidavits of five clients, which all showed the transfer of wares with the trademark. The affidavits also attached invoices proving the transfers took place. The Court found that this new evidence went beyond mere allegations of use, noting that the applicant was only required to produce “evidence of a single sale, whether wholesale or retail, in the normal course of trade” so long as the sale was not deliberately manufactured or contrived to protect the registration of the trademark. In applying the principle of use “in the normal course of trade”, the Court also noted that good faith is presumed when there is no evidence challenging the affiant’s credibility. Thus, the Court found in the applicant’s favour, something the Board might have done if better evidence had been presented at first instance.