Minutes - TRIPS Council Special Session - View details of the intervention/statement

Ambassador D. Mwape (Zambia)
B.i First sub-question
25. The representative of Canada said she would share with Members some preliminary responses to the Chairman's questions to supplement the information her delegation had already provided about how Canada would take into account information contained in the register. Canada had two distinct procedures for trademarks and geographical indications. 26. With regard to trademarks, applications for a trademark registration under the Canadian Trade-marks Act were examined by the Canadian Industrial Property Office (CIPO) on both absolute and relative grounds, and unless the Registrar of Trade-marks was satisfied that the application did not comply with the Trade-marks Act, the application was published in the Trade-marks Journal, following which an opposition proceeding could be initiated before the Trade-marks Opposition Board. The Trade-marks Act did not specify any particulars of information to be taken into account by the Office during the examination phase. However, as a matter of practice, the Office conducted a search of the Canadian Trade-marks Database for confusing trademarks that had been previously registered or for which protection had been sought. In the opposition phase, both the opponent and the applicant were entitled to submit evidence and make representations, and any such evidence and representations had to be taken into account by the Trade-marks Opposition Board in deciding whether to refuse the application or reject the opposition. The failure of the Trade-marks Opposition Board to do so would be taken into account by the Federal Court, should the decision of the Board be appealed. 27. With regard to geographical indications, under Section 11.12(3) of the Trade-marks Act, the Minister must be satisfied that the quality, reputation or other characteristic of the wine or spirit qualified the indication for protection as a geographical indication. As there was no obligation to take into account any particular source of information, and there was thus no sanction for failure to do so, the Minister had the discretion to use any information available to determine whether any quality, reputation or other characteristic existed and was essentially attributable to the geographical origin of the wine or spirit. The party requesting protection for the geographical indication was free to bring to the Minister's attention any sources of information that might be relevant, including those that became newly available. An interested party, that objected to the protection of the geographical indication, could also refer to any source during the objection period. 28. While there was currently no legally binding obligation to use given sources of information, her delegation had already indicated that, should the joint proposal be accepted, Canada could accept an obligation for domestic decision makers to consult the register when making decisions regarding the registration or protection of trademarks and geographical indications.
The Special Session took note of the statements made.