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In 2015, international brands successfully challenged plans to compel the positioning of French descriptions alongside trademarks when used in Quebec. This week, it emerged that the government intends to ask stores to use French signage on their facades. While the move does not go as far as previous plans, opposition figures are calling for the government to revisit and strengthen plans to compel companies to adopt French descriptions.
Canada’s Combating Counterfeit Products Act is inching closer to reality, passing its third reading in Parliament late last week. Brian Isaac, partner at Smart & Biggar Fetherstonhaugh, has welcomed the move, noting: “While some concerns have been raised regarding the provisions of Bill C-8, reform of Canada’s anti-counterfeiting laws is overdue and the anti-counterfeiting community in Canada welcomes the apparent renewed interest in the issue by the government of Canada.”
The Quebec Superior Court has ruled in Magasins Best Buy Ltée v Office Québécois de la langue française, a case that centres on whether stores with non-French commercial signs must additionally display generic terms describing the store’s product or service offering in French.
Much has been written about the growing anti-IP sentiment amongst consumers with demonstrations over ACTA and the outcry in the United States over anti-piracy legislation the most high-profile illustration of public discontent. A new study of Canadian consumers purports to reflect a very different picture so are Canadians more IP-friendly by nature or is the picture similar elsewhere, with the naysayers merely shouting louder than the supporters?
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has announced that it will accept applications for the registration of trademarks consisting of sounds, with immediate effect. With a consultation period on the country’s trademark regulations currently open, future changes to the treatment of non-traditional marks could soon follow.
The Canadian Anti-counterfeiting Network released an executive update to its Report on Counterfeiting and Piracy in Canada: A Road Map for Change yesterday, calling on the government to get tougher on IP crime. With Canada now boasting a majority government, the prospects for a more proactive approach to IP crime are improving.
Quebec’s Office of the French Language has launched a campaign, aimed at multinational chains and big box stores, to ensure the visibility of French language descriptions on commercial signs. While there are exceptions for the use of trademarks, the regulations have a direct impact on physical and online advertising.
On Friday the Combating Counterfeit Products Act (Bill C-56) was introduced in Canada, its aim being to “protect Canadian consumers, Canadian manufacturers and retailers as well as the Canadian economy from the health and economic threats presented by counterfeit goods”. However, will comparisons with ACTA result in difficult passage for the act?
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