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24 June 2014Trademarks

Canada grants royal assent to trademark laws

Canadian legislation that will enable the country to join three trademark treaties and make changes to its trademark laws has been given final approval following royal assent.

The amendments to the Trademark Act, outlined in the Budget Implementation Act, will allow Canada to accede to the Madrid Protocol, Singapore Treaty and Nice Agreement.

The Madrid Protocol will enable trademark owners to protect their community trademarks in up to 89 member states, including the EU, in one language, while paying only one set of fees in one currency.

Officially launched in 1961, the Nice Agreement is an international system used to classify goods and services for registration, while the Singapore system establishes common standards for registration and licensing.

Other changes include a removal of the requirement to identify whether a trademark has been used or is proposed to be used at the time of filing and introducing an option of divisional applications.

Divisional applications will help applicants where an examiner or opponent disputes a certain part of an application, allowing the uncontested part to continue the registration process.

“By joining international IP treaties, the government is delivering on its continuing commitment to modernise Canada's IP regime,” the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) said in a statement.

“Canadian businesses will have access to a trademark regime that is aligned with international best practices, that reduces costs and administrative burden, that facilitates their expansion in foreign markets, and that attracts foreign investment to Canada,” CIPO added.

The bill, also known as the C-31 bill,  received royal assent on Thursday, June 19.

As it is a Commonwealth country, Canadian bills still require royal assent before they can become law. In Canada, it is granted or withheld by the governor-general, a representative of the monarch.

The new legislation is expected to be fully implemented within a year.

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