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07 April 2004

Federal Court finds no need to defer to Trademark Opposition Board

In Alticor Inc v Nutravite Pharmaceuticals Inc, the Federal Court of Canada has ruled that the defendant's use of its NUTRAVITE mark did not infringe the plaintiff's NUTRILITE mark for identical goods. The court gave little weight to the Trademark Opposition Board decision to refuse the NUTRAVITE registration on the basis that it was confusingly similar to the NUTRILITE mark.

24 March 2004

A sound examination should not include design elements

In Best Canadian Motor Inns Ltd v Best Western International Inc, the Federal Court of Canada has refused registration of the trademark BEST CANADIAN MOTOR INNS and design. Contrary to a previous decision, the court held that design elements that are combined with textual components should be disregarded in deciding whether a trademark is descriptive as sounded.

18 March 2004

Spillover advertising does not constitute use, confirms court

In Clark O'Neill Inc v PharmaCommunications Group Inc, the Federal Court of Canada has confirmed a decision to expunge the plaintiff's SINGLE SOURCE SAMPLING mark on the grounds of non-use. The court held that use of the mark only stemmed from spillover advertising from the United States and there were no special circumstances justifying non-use of the trademark in Canada.

23 February 2004

Concept of use in relation to intangible goods further extended

In In Re Acer America Corporation, the Canadian Trademarks Opposition Board has continued the trend towards expanding the level of trademark protection available to intangible goods and specifically computer software. Following this decision, the concept of use has been further extended to allow greater trademark protection for intangible goods that are not distributed through traditional means.

15 January 2004

Anheuser-Busch awarded GOLDEN registration

In Molson Canada v Anheuser-Busch Inc, the Federal Court of Canada has dismissed the plaintiff's opposition to the registration of MICHELOB GOLDEN DRAFT. It held that although the plaintiff's series of marks featuring the word 'golden' are strong and well known in Canada, when analyzed as a whole, the two parties' marks were not of similar appearance.

13 November 2003

Public agency allowed to use trademark identical to official mark

The Federal Court has dismissed the plaintiff university's action for summary judgment in relation to its claim that the defendant, a government agency, had infringed its official mark in contravention of Section 9 of the Canadian Trademarks Act. The court held that the defendant began using the mark before the notice of the plaintiff's adoption of its official mark had been issued.

22 September 2003

Bacardi's opposition to 'Havana Club' fails

The Federal Court of Canada has upheld the trademark registrar's decision to dismiss Bacardi's opposition to the registration of 'Havana Club' as a word mark and design. It found that as the applicant is also the owner - albeit disputedly - of the prior registered mark HAVANA CLUB, the claim of confusing similarity that was the basis of the opposition could not prevail.

08 September 2003

CIPO set to favour online procedures with preferential fees

In order to promote its streamlined online procedures, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has announced that as of January 1 2004, it will offer reduced fees to those filing trademark applications and renewing registrations online.

24 July 2003

Opposition to NUTRAVITA mark fails

In Alticor Inc v Nutravite Pharmaceuticals Inc, the Federal Court of Canada has affirmed a Trademark Opposition Board decision to allow the registration of the term 'Nutravita' as a trademark. The court concluded that the marks NUTRAVITA and NUTRILITE would not be confusingly similar when used in association with vitamins, minerals and herbs.

28 May 2003

American Sporting Goods gets the boot

In American Sporting Goods Corporation v Sears Canada Inc, the Federal Court of Canada has upheld the registrar of trademarks' decision to refuse the plaintiff's application to register the term 'Nevados' as a trademark for footwear. Sears Canada thereby successfully protected its mark NEVADA for the same goods.

19 May 2003

Toys "R" Us loses twice to NUTS trademark applicant

In two decisions in opposition proceedings issued on the same day, the Federal Court of Canada has ruled for the defendant in Toys "R" Us (Canada) Ltd v Manjel Inc, finding that the registration and use of the trademark NUTS 'R' US does not infringe the TOYS "R" US mark.

16 May 2003

Labatt wins 12-year Oland Export dispute

In Labatt Brewing Company Limited v Molson Canada, the Federal Court Trial Division has found the term 'Oland Export', for use in association with beer, to be registrable on the basis of acquired distinctiveness. The case, which lasted for more than a decade, is the latest in a series of disputes between these two parties regarding trademarks for beer.

25 April 2003

Pill refused combination colour-shape mark

In Astrazeneca AB v Novopharm Ltd, the Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that "a yellow colour applied to the whole of the visible surface of a round tablet" containing a blood pressure medication is not sufficiently distinctive to be registrable as a trademark because there are numerous other round, yellow tablets sold in Canada for the same ailment.

11 April 2003

BOSTON CHICKEN plucked from registry

The Federal Court of Appeal has overruled a decision to maintain the registration of the trademark BOSTON CHICKEN, finding that it lacks distinctiveness. In reaching this conclusion, the court expressly rejected foreign use of a mark as being the basis to acquire distinctiveness in Canada.

02 April 2003

Definition of 'use' expanded to cover market testing

In ConAgra Foods Inc v Fetherstonaugh & Co, the Federal Court has reversed the trademark registrar's decision to cancel for non-use ConAgra's KID CUISINE mark. The court ruled that ConAgra's transfer of marked sample goods to be used for market testing constituted 'use' for the purposes of the Canadian Trademarks Act.