Canada: Ah ces escrocs des marques de commerce!

Last Updated: July 27 2017
Article by Janine MacNeil

De plus en plus de titulaires de droits de la propriété intellectuelle sont sollicités par des individus qui cherchent à les exploiter.

Les sollicitations arrivent sous forme de correspondance ou de factures affichant des images de brevets ou de marques de commerce, les coordonnées d'une personne ressource, des numéros d'enregistrement et d'autres renseignements qui semblent très authentiques, mais qui ne sont que des leurres. Les renseignements figurant dans ces sollicitations sont facilement obtenus des bases de données en ligne de l'Office de la propriété intellectuelle du Canada (l'« OPIC ») et d'autres bases de données mondiales en matière de propriété intellectuelle, qui sont accessibles au public. Ces sollicitations, provenant supposément d'organisations gouvernementales, exigent le paiement de faux frais pour la publication d'une demande de marque de commerce. Elles peuvent aussi offrir des services juridiques, exiger le paiement de frais importants pour le renouvellement de l'enregistrement de marques de commerce, offrir de l'aide au paiement de taxes de maintien en état de brevets, offrir des services de surveillance ou même communiquer des pratiques commerciales fausses ou trompeuses en matière de noms de domaine.

La correspondance émanant de l'OPIC est transmise soit directement au titulaire d'une marque de commerce, soit par l'intermédiaire de son agent de marques de commerce ou de son représentant aux fins de signification. L'OPIC est la seule autorité autorisée à protéger la propriété intellectuelle de quiconque au Canada. L'OPIC est l'agence gouvernementale responsable de l'administration des droits de propriété intellectuelle et de leur renouvellement.

De façon générale, ces sollicitations sont frauduleuses et devraient être ignorées. Pour éviter de vous faire prendre par ces sollicitations, voici quelques lignes directrices :

  • La correspondance émanant de l'OPIC et qui est envoyée par courrier électronique comporte une adresse URL se terminant par « @canada.ca » et celle envoyée par la poste comporte l'adresse postale de l'OPIC, soit le 50, rue Victoria, Gatineau (Québec) K1A 0C9.
  • Assurez-vous de connaître les droits exigés par l'OPIC pour le traitement et le maintien en vigueur de vos droits de propriété intellectuelle au Canada. Les frais exigés dans le cadre d'une sollicitation frauduleuse sont habituellement beaucoup plus élevés que ceux de l'OPIC. Une liste exhaustive des frais exigés par l'OPIC pour ses services se trouve sur son site Web.
  • Vous devez connaître le moment auquel vos droits de propriété intellectuelle doivent être renouvelés. Chaque droit est renouvelable à un moment précis. Par exemple, l'enregistrement d'une marque de commerce doit être renouvelé tous les 15 ans, tandis que les frais de maintien des brevets sont payables annuellement.
  • Certaines sollicitations peuvent contenir une mise en garde comme « avis d'annulation du brevet » ou « avis important concernant votre marque de commerce fédérale ». L'OPIC n'utilise pas ce type de formulation dans sa correspondance.
  • Les mots « Canada » ou « canadien » ou « canadienne » peuvent faire partie du nom de l'entreprise ou figurer dans son en-tête de lettre, donnant ainsi une apparence officielle à la sollicitation.
  • Les sollicitations peuvent aussi offrir de vous ajouter à des répertoires en apparence officiels ou vous offrir des services semblables à ceux offerts par l'OPIC.

Il est important de lire le texte en petits caractères contenu dans un document de sollicitation pour établir s'il provient ou non de l'OPIC. En cas de doute, communiquez avec votre agent de marques de commerce du cabinet Fasken Martineau.

N'hésitez jamais à vous enquérir de la légitimité d'une sollicitation que vous recevez par courrier électronique ou par la poste, relativement à votre propriété intellectuelle.

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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