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Nov 22, 2016 (Newsletter Issue 21/16)
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Practice Notice on Geographical Marks Released

On November 9, 2016, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) released a practice notice in order to clarify its interpretation of paragraph 12(1)(b) of the Canadian Trade-marks Act when applied for evaluating the registrability of trademarks with a geographical name.

CIPO’s notice states that, in accordance with the 2016 Federal Court of Appeal’s decision in MC Imports Inc. v. AFOD Ltd., a trademark is clearly descriptive of the place of origin if the trademark, whether depicted, written or sounded, is a geographic name and the associated goods or services originate from the location of the geographic name. Therefore, such trademark could not be registered in Canada.

Furthermore, a trademark will not be registrable under paragraph 12(1)(b) if it is deceptively misdescriptive.

Finally, if the registrar determines that the trademark is a geographic name, the applicant will have to confirm to the CIPO the actual place of origin of the associated goods or services. The notice also states that the address of an applicant is irrelevant when evaluating the place of origin of the associated goods or services.

Source: Joli-Coeur Lacasse Avocats, Canada