Canada: Mise-en-œuvre des modifications à la Loi sur les marques de commerce maintenant prévue pour 2019 : ce que cela signifie pour les propriétaires de marques

Last Updated: March 3 2017
Article by Cynthia Rowden

L'Office de la propriété intellectuelle du Canada a confirmé qu'il prévoit maintenant mettre en Suvre les modifications à la Loi sur les marques de commerce au début de 2019. Ces modifications entraîneront d'importants changements au régime des marques de commerce au Canada, dont l'élimination de l'exigence relative à l'« emploi » de la marque pour procéder à son enregistrement et l'adhésion au Protocole de Madrid, qui permettra aux propriétaires de marques tant canadiens qu'étrangers de faire valoir leurs droits sur le plan international par le truchement d'un système de dépôt simplifié.

Bien que la mise-en-Suvre des modifications rendra obligatoire la Classification de Nice pour les nouvelles demandes d'enregistrement, le Bureau des marques de commerce met déjà en place des mesures pour que les propriétaires de marques classifient les demandes et les enregistrements avant même la mise en Suvre des modifications. Depuis 2015, le Bureau a classifié de façon informelle toutes les demandes et tous les enregistrements, même si les renseignements ainsi compilés n'ont aucun effet juridique. En 2016, le Bureau a commencé à encourager les requérants à classifier volontairement les nouvelles demandes, sans se livrer à un examen en bonne et due forme de cette classification. Son plan est maintenant de faire en sorte que les titulaires d'enregistrement communiquent les renseignements requis sur les classes des produits ou services, particulièrement ceux qui doivent renouveler leurs enregistrements en 2018 et 2019. La classification n'a, d'ici la mise en Suvre des modifications, aucune incidence sur les frais exigés.

Avant la mise-en-Suvre des modifications, les demandes fondées sur l'« emploi projeté au Canada » continueront d'être enregistrées uniquement à la suite de la production d'une déclaration d'emploi. Après la mise en Suvre des modifications, cette exigence sera retirée, ce qui permettra l'enregistrement immédiat de toutes les demandes en instance admises sur paiement des frais d'enregistrement. De nombreux requérants ont remis à plus tard la production de la déclaration d'emploi pour certains produits ou services, sachant que les modifications permettront l'enregistrement de tous les produits ou services peu importe l'emploi. Le Bureau a établi des repères liés à la prolongation des délais de production de la déclaration d'emploi, à savoir trois ans suivant l'avis d'admission ou six ans suivant la date du dépôt, en retenant l'échéance la plus éloignée. Si le délai expire avant l'application des modifications en 2019, les requérants doivent soit produire une déclaration d'emploi concernant un nombre restreint de produits ou services, soit présenter une nouvelle demande afin de maintenir leurs droits (en espérant qu'il n'y ait eu aucune demande dans l'intervalle).

Comme il n'y a à l'heure actuelle qu'un frais unique à verser, peu importe le nombre de produits, de services ou de classes, et comme les modifications devraient se traduire par un barème de frais selon la classe de produits ou de services, certains requérants ont choisi de déposer des demandes comprenant de très longues listes de produits ou de services. L'examen de la plus récente publication du Journal des marques de commerce (où sont publiées les marques à des fins d'opposition) montre que de nombreuses demandes s'accompagnent de listes de produits et de services supérieures à trois pages. À l'heure actuelle, les requérants doivent indiquer les motifs d'enregistrement, y compris l'emploi projeté au Canada, l'emploi et l'enregistrement à l'étranger et/ou l'emploi actuel au Canada. On peut s'opposer à une demande avec succès si le requérant ne peut pas étayer les motifs d'enregistrement, même s'il est concrètement très difficile de réussir à montrer que l'on ne projette pas d'employer la marque au Canada. En vertu des modifications, lorsqu'elles seront mises en Suvre, le requérant qui a employé ou qui a l'intention d'employer sa marque au Canada peut produire une demande, mais des frais par classe lui seront imposés (les montants n'ont pas encore été établis). Le fait de procéder maintenant à l'enregistrement de produits et de services que l'on projette de véritablement employer peut permettre d'économiser les frais par classe qui seront imposés ainsi que constituer une stratégie efficace par rapport aux coûts, mais il y a lieu de prendre en considération l'obligation relative à l'« intention d'employer » du régime des marques de commerce au Canada.

Demeurez branchés pour plus de renseignements sur les modifications, notamment pour les précisions que comprendra le projet de règlement sur le traitement des demandes et le processus d'opposition.

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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