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Federal Court of Appeal rules on geographic names as trademarks

By Antonio Turco

A recent Federal Court of Appeal decision illustrates the inherent difficulty in registering a trademark which is descriptive, either of goods or services, or of a geographical location where the goods or services originated

Trademark lawyers know the inherent difficulty in registering a trademark which is descriptive, either of goods or services, or of a geographical location where the goods or services originated. For example, in Canada, pursuant to Paragraph 12(1)(b) of the Trademarks Act, a trademark is not registrable if it is clearly descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of the place of origin of the goods or services with which it is used, unless it has acquired distinctiveness through use.

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Issue 71