Recent Changes to Canadian Trademarks Act and Prospects for Protection of Traditional Knowledge

Jul 17 2018

Fundamental changes to the Canadian Trademarks Act were passed on June 19, 2014, by way of an omnibus budget bill. These changes will come into force on a date to be determined, possibly in early 2019. The necessary update of the Trademarks Regulations and various practice directions is well underway as part of the implementation of the Madrid Protocol, Singapore Treaty, and Nice Agreement contemplated by the changes to the Act.

Protecting Traditional Knowledge
So what does all of this mean for the protection of traditional knowledge (TK) in Canada? Trademark law provides protection for distinctive marks that have been used or are intended to be used in the marketplace. The use of a mark commercially is contrary to the belief of some indigenous communities that do not want their ceremonial symbols, designs, and words used for profit. However, other indigenous businesses and organizations in Canada do have registered or protected marks.

To read (former partner) Janet Fuhrer’s full article in the July 15th edition of the INTA Bulletin, please visit INTA’s website.

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Tags: Madrid Protocol, Nice Agreement, Trademarks Act