Answer ... Canadian law provides protection for the following marks:
- trademarks, which consist of a sign or combination of signs used, or proposed to be used, by a person for the purpose of distinguishing or so as to distinguish their goods or services from those of others. A ‘sign’ is a broad concept which includes a word or words, a personal name, a design, a letter or letters, a numeral, a colour, a figurative element, a three-dimensional shape, a hologram, a moving image, a mode of packaging goods, a sound, a scent, a taste, a texture and the positioning of a sign;
- certification marks, which are owned by a standard-setting body and used by third parties, intended to confirm that goods and services provided thereunder conform to such standards; and
- an extensive list of prohibited marks, as specified in Section 9 of the Trademarks Act, including royal arms, crests or standards; flags of certain nations, including Canada; and any badge, crest, emblem or mark of any university or adopted and used by any public authority in Canada as an official mark for goods or services.
Geographical indications are protected under a separate scheme and are subject to separate requirements under the Trademarks Act.
Answer ... In general, under common law and the Trademarks Act, marks must be capable of distinguishing the goods or services manufactured, sold, leased, hired or performed by the mark’s owner from those manufactured, sold, leased, hired or performed by others.
Specific bars to registration are discussed below under question 2.3.
Answer ... The Trademarks Act provides explicit protections for non-traditional marks, including sound marks, colour marks not tied to a particular size or shape, scent marks, taste marks and texture marks.