If your trademarks and business names contain letters with
accents and you are the owner of domain names linked with them, it
is important to familiarize yourself with the following.
With a view to offering owners the possibility of registering
domain names that comply with French spelling, the Canadian
Internet Registration Authority (the
«CIRA»), the organization that manages
the register of .ca domain names in Canada, plans to implement
domain names containing characters peculiar to the French
Unlike other registers, including the register of .com domain
names, a .ca domain name cannot, at the present time, include any
letters with accents (é, ë, ê, è, â,
à, ô, ù, û, ü, ç, î,
ï). The only characters that a .ca domain name can currently
contain are characters without accents, i.e. the letters of the
alphabet, the numbers from 0 to 9 and the hyphen. A domain name
that is made up of other characters is an internationalized domain
According to the procedure proposed by the CIRA, the official
launch of IDNs will take place in two stages:
Sunrise Period: Prior to the launch of IDNs and in
order to prevent a third party from registering a variant of an
existing domain name, the CIRA plans an introductory phase of 12
weeks. During this period, authorization to register IDNs will be
granted only to current owners of domain names to allow them to
register all the variants of IDNs corresponding to their current
Landrush Period: An intermediate stage, also of 12
weeks, would then follow, during which any interested party could
file a request to register an IDN that has not already been
registered or for which no request has been presented during the
introductory phase. During this second phase, if two persons
present requests for an identical domain name, the domain name in
question would be allocated randomly. Following the expiry of this
stage, IDNs would subsequently be given to the public according to
the first come, first served rule.
Prior to the launch of IDNs, the CIRA is holding a consultation
period from September 20, 2011 to December 13, 2011, the purpose of
which is to obtain feedback from the Canadian population on the
draft policy for launching IDNs.
The need to integrate a mechanism aimed at protecting the owners
of trademarks in the process for launching IDNs is one of the
issues that the CIRA wishes to explore during the consultation
period. The CIRA suggests in particular that the owners of Canadian
trademarks that include French characters with accents be
authorized to participate in the introductory phase described above
and that any problematic requests be resolved by means of random
The advent of IDNs for .ca domain names will present an
additional challenge for the current owners of these domain names.
Accordingly, in order to protect your domain names, it will be
advantageous for you to register several variants of them, given
the multitude of possible variations that the introduction of this
principle in Canada will cause. We invite you to communicate with
us if you wish to participate in the consultation process
associated with the introduction of IDNs. Meanwhile, please be
assured that we will keep you informed of any developments related
to the introduction of the above-mentioned rules.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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