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04 March 2019
Canada's trademarks profession had an exciting 2018. The long-awaited changes to the Trademarks Act were announced, many of which will bring Canada into line with the rest of the world. In addition, further unexpected legislative developments were announced in 2018, which will significantly affect trademark protection.(1)
This article provides a summary of highlights from 2018.
The Canadian government finally set a date for the implementation of Bill C-31, which will overhaul Canadian trademark law. In November 2018 the federal government announced that the bill's long awaited coming-into-force date will be 17 June 2019 (for further details please see "The date is set – new trademark law will be in force June 2019"). It also published the new Trademarks Regulations, which include key amendments such as:
(For further details please see "Significant change for non-Canadian brand owners under new Trademarks Act".)
Each year, the federal government enacts one or two omnibus acts, implementing provisions of the federal budget tabled in Parliament in the spring. The second budget bill of 2018, enacted as the Budget Implementation Act 2 2018, received royal assent on 13 December 2018. It amends dozens of federal laws and includes several important trademark-related provisions, including:
(For further details please see "New Bill C-86 introduces many more changes to IP laws".)
Canada also reached a new free-trade agreement with Mexico and the United States that replaces the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It is known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) stateside or the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement north of the border. In relation to the USMCA's trademark-related provisions, Canada largely complies with these provisions, or will do so once the amendments to Canada's Trademarks Act come into force. For instance, the USMCA requires that Canada must:
All of these changes are already underway and will come into force on 17 June 2019 (for further details please see "USMCA versus NAFTA: what's changed and what it means for intellectual property in Canada").
The implementation of Bill C-31 is eagerly awaited, as are the many new opportunities it will bring for brand owners to protect their trademarks, including through international applications or registrations, and the expansion of non-traditional trademarks to include colour per se, scent, taste, texture, sound, moving images and holograms.
For further information on this topic please contact Mark Evans or Jennifer Ponton at Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh by telephone (+1 416 593 5514) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Smart & Biggar/Fetherstonhaugh website can be accessed at www.smart-biggar.ca.
(1) A separate summary of notable trademark decisions from the Canadian courts in 2018 is available here.
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