Sunday 14 September 2014

#AIPPI2014 Canada joins the 21st Century

I am writing this at an airport boarding gate on my way to Toronto for the AIPPI conference. I am mainly thinking trade mark issues as I contributed to the UK response on Madrid system central attack Question 239. You can find all the national Group reports here.

Although Canada is hosting the conference it is one of the few territories that does not use WIPO's Nice Classification or belong to the Madrid Protocol,  but it seems that is all set to change now that the Canadian government has passed its Budget Implementation Act which included the necessary amendments to Canadan law to allow Canada to join Nice, Madrid and the Singapore Trade Mark Treaty. The changes do not include abolition of relative grounds examination or the three year use period. So it's not surprising that the Canadian group support the basic mark requirement in Madrid, but like the idea that dependency should shrink to three rather than five years.

With a five year dependency, late starting Canadian businesses would otherwise have a greater vulnerability to central attacks on their International registrations, than their counterparts in European countries, for example, that require five years to pass before their national marks can be challenged for non-use.  It would be interesting to know how many central attacks have been made on non- use in territories where this could happen now. I can only think of China. Their group report does suggest it may be a concern as they note:
The Madrid filing might focus on worldwide use instead of national use, then non-
use cancellation against basic registration may bring risk of central attack, which
woud be unreasonable to the trademark registrant.
The UK Group also discussed that a three year dependency would be sufficient.

One interesting aspect of many reports s that central attack is little used. This seems odd as in my practice, which is necessarily modest I see several cases a year where it is under consideration. It would be useful if central attackss were required to be notified to WIPO while they are in progress rather than just when they succeed.

I hope I will b able to discuss these and other issues with fellow travelers when you arrive in Toronto

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