Canada’s trademark law changes coming June 17: what you need to know

Canada’s trademark laws are changing this summer, and companies will need to be vigilant.

The pending changes include:

  • A first-to-file requirement for trademark registration, meaning that companies will not have first use a trademark before filing,
  • Altering the definition to include descriptors such as 3D shape, scent, taste, texture, and positioning, among others, and
  • A cost increase from $250 to register a trademark for all goods and services, to $330 plus additional fees per registered class.

The downside is that this new system could open the door to “trolls” – people who register trademarks without intent to use, only to sell them back to companies who want them. However, the new fee structure should be a deterrent, since it would cost thousands of dollars to register a trademark across all classes.

It might seem an onerous process for businesses, although a trademark lawyer could conduct pre-clearance searches and advise clients which ideas have already been trademarked, and across which of the 45 categories. This could potentially save businesses a great deal of time and money.

The new system brings Canada in line with a number of its trading partners, including the EU. (The U.S. continues to have a first-to-use system, where companies must first commercially use a trademark to register it.)

More information about these changes can be found on the Canadian Lawyer website. Contact a legal professional for more detailed information and advice.

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