Canada’s longstanding trademark laws are about to change. On June 17, 2019, Canadian trademark owners and applicants will see differences in how trademarks are approved, the cost to file, and the international application process, among other changes. The largest change to Canada’s trademark laws in recent history will better align with global trademark requirements and processes. Here’s what you need to know and how you could be impacted.
“Use” is No Longer Required to Obtain Registration
This is the single biggest change to come from Canada’s Trademark Act. Under current law, those filing for a Canadian trademark registration declare that they have actual use of the trademark in Canada before the registration can issue. Beginning in June 2019, demonstration or declaration of use will no longer be required to get a registration to issue. With that said, the owner of a registration that never ends up using the mark could still be subject to a non-use cancellation proceeding in the future.
The intent of the law is to simplify the application process, but it could also usher in some additional legal issues, harmful to businesses. Because applicants will no longer need to show proof of use when filing, squatters and others with ill intent may begin the process of registering brands in Canada that do not belong to them. Squatters do this so that they can essentially ransom the marks to their brand owners once they seek to register in Canada. Others may wish to profit off the distribution of goods with another’s mark displayed. Protecting your trademarks against squatters and infringers is vital to the success of your business. If you have not yet registered your trademark in Canada, you may want to consider beginning the process swiftly, to avoid others from beating you to the process.