The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has released a draft of Regulations that will be compatible with the new Trademark Act that is expected to take into effect for early 2019. The new Regulations have set a series of processes, procedures and deadlines for the filing and processing of Canadian applications for trademarks.
The changes to Canadian trademark law will include a change in the current definition of a trademark. This new change will make trademark laws stricter, as the definition of “Trademark” will be expanded upon to include more general terms and items, such as:
- Specific words
- A person’s name
- 3D shapes
- Moving or animated images
- Shapes of packaged products
All of these things, when filed for trademarks, will be known as “signs”, and they will become a whole new breed of trademark. There are many kinds of elements that could be protected under trademark laws, and as the new laws come into effect – companies and owners will then be able to file trademarks for “signs” which include unique smells for food, unique textures for clothing, and unique images for multimedia.
These laws will make it easier for certain properties to be protected outside logos, programs, characters, music, and merchandising. For instance, a company can file a trademark for a number “3” on a movie poster, signifying an upcoming third installment in a series of franchise movies. What a “sign” does is make sure that no other companies make posters that are intentionally made to look similar. The company that designed the poster will be the only one that is allowed to design it in such a way, and other companies are not allowed to use the same color schemes and fonts to match, imitate, or even parody the original poster, even if different fonts and colors were to be used.
How lenient or specific these details are remains to be seen.
“Signs” may seem pretty unnecessary at first, but sooner or later, business owners big or small will come to realize how important it is to file them for certain assets they own, from bold color schemes used for marketing to unique aromas found in a food or beverages. “Signs” are thus established to make sure that your original assets do not get overshadowed by similar ones from other companies in the future.
To say the least, this change in trademark laws is rather interesting, since companies will now be able to file signs for more assets than ever before, including businesses that are non-Canadian, and not authorized for registration in other countries.