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Canadian Intellectual Property Office Issues Practice Notice On Geographic Names

The CIPO recently issued a Practice Notice clarifying its practice regarding applications to register geographic names as trademarks. Examiners will consider a trademark to be “clearly descriptive”, and therefore prohibited, if the trademark is a geographic name and the associated goods originate from that geographic location. Examiners will consider a trademark to be “deceptively misdescriptive”, and therefore prohibited, if it consists of a geographic name and the associated goods do not emanate from that geographic location where Canadian consumers could be misled into thinking that the associated goods actually originated from that geographic location. A trademark will be considered to be a “geographic name” if it has no meaning other than as a geographic name, or if the ordinary Canadian consumer of the associated goods or services would view the primary or predominant meaning of the trademark as the geographic name, regardless of the fact that the name could have other meanings. See full Practice Notice. This new Practice Notice takes into account the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in MC Imports Inc. v. AFOD Ltd., 2016 FCA 60, which is the subject of our earlier post here.

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