On June 28th, the Government of Canada’s College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents (CPATA) was established to implement a regulatory framework for the professions of patent and trademark agents. The College is a part of Canada’s Intellectual Property Strategy and aims to ensure the integrity of these professions.
The CPATA is now responsible for:
For informational resources, see below:
Graphic by Clancy PC using:
CPATA logo from CPATA's website
Photo by Maarten van den Huevel via Unsplash
June 27 was Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day. The United Nations (UN) started MSME Day in 2017 in recognition of the importance of small businesses to local and global economies. The UN also recognizes that MSMEs are crucial to achieving their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As a small business ourselves, Clancy PC recognizes the importance of supporting other MSME to allow them to grow. In honour of this, we have put together a guide on how IP rights can build value and protect small businesses.
“SMEs that apply for patents, trademarks or designs are more likely to grow quickly and succeed than those that do not.” – World Intellectual Property Office Magazine
Quick Facts about small businesses from the Government of Canada Key Small Business Statistics 2020
Protecting intellectual property rights (IPRs) can be essential to ensure the growth and success of small businesses. IPRs are very valuable assets that can be used and leveraged to create added value. The five most common forms of intellectual property are:
Trademarks: Trademarks can consist of virtually any sign that allows one company to distinguish itself from its competitors.
They can include words, designs, tag lines, scents, textures, sounds, tastes, motion marks, etc. Protecting your company’s trademarks is essential as it allows you to take swift action in cases where you spot unauthorized use that can lead to confusion in the marketplace. Moreover, by registering your trademarks, you ensure that the accrued goodwill in your brand inures to your benefit.
Industrial Designs: Industrial designs protect the aesthetic features of a product, such as the shape, ornamentation, patterns applied to the product.
Patents: Patents protect innovation and provide a monopoly period within which a business can monetize the invention.
Copyrights: Copyright protects original literary, artistic, dramatic, or musical works and gives you the sole right to reproduce, publish or perform the works.
Trade Secrets: Trade secrets can be any exclusive information that gives your company a competitive edge in the industrial, manufacturing or commercial sector. A very famous trade secret is the Coca-Cola recipe.
For more information about the various forms of IP protection available in Canada, visit CIPO
Why IP matters for your business
In the most recent issue of the International Trademark Association’s (INTA) Bulletin, Tracy Rengecas explores issues surrounding the unauthorized use of Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs). TCEs include Indigenous names, words, symbols, songs, images and other expressions that are imbued with significant meaning, and even sacred value, for Indigenous communities.
When a company adopts an Indigenous word or symbol and uses it for commercial gain, without authorization or context, this results in cultural misappropriation. As Ms. Rengecas notes, citing a recent blog post by Wend Wendland: “… the tribal name of the Maasai, an indigenous community of East Africa, has been used without permission by 80 companies, including Jaguar Land Rover and Louis Vuitton. The Maasai community continues to live in poverty and does not derive any income from the use of its name.” Similar issues have arisen in the U.S. with Jeep’s use of the trademark GRAND CHEROKEE.
The use of derogatory or offensive words for commercial gain is a related issue. The Washington football team recently dropped the use of REDSKINS, after significant pressure from sponsors and the BLM movement forced their hand.
The Canadian Trademarks Act contains a prohibition against the registration of “any scandalous, obscene or immoral word or device” - Section 9(1)(j). This section may be used to object to the registration of, or to expunge marks that are offensive to Canada’s Indigenous community. Nevertheless, this may be of limited value since the company may conceivably continue to ‘use’ the offensive word or design.
Article 31 of the United National Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the “Declaration”) recognizes the right of Indigenous peoples to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, including IP rights in such heritage. In December 2020, the Government of Canada introduced legislation to implement the Declaration. Bill C-15 (the “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act”) received Royal Assent earlier this week (on June 21, 2021). It will be interesting to see how the Government and Indigenous communities work together to fully implement the Declaration.
To read Ms. Rengecas article in the INTA Bulletin, click here. To learn more about the Declaration, click here
Amazon’s IP Accelerator helps businesses gain access to valuable tools on Amazon’s Brand Registry platform. The IP Accelerator launched in Canada on April 26th, 2021, helping connect small-to-mid-sized businesses with third-party Intellectual Property (IP) law firms. These firms are curated by Amazon and are all trusted Canadian firms, including woman-and-minority-owned firms. Clancy PC one of eight service providers selected for the Amazon IP Accelerator in Canada. As the Ottawa Business Journal highlighted, this partnership between Clancy PC, a small firm, and the world’s e-commerce leader, Amazon, is a tremendous opportunity.
How it works
It can take up to 3 years to register a trademark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). Amazon’s IP Accelerator allows brand owners to access the Brand Registry program with a pending application, rather than having to wait until a registration issues. This means that brand owners can sell and be protected on Amazon within two weeks of filing their Canadian trademark application. The process is simple:
Clancy PC is an independent, woman-owned firm and proud to be a part of the Amazon IP Accelerator. An Amazon press release quoted Founder and Managing Attorney Paula Clancy:
“In today’s competitive marketplace, your brand is one of your most valuable assets as it represents your reputation in the eyes of consumers, directing them to your products and services. Brand protection on a store like Amazon, which reaches millions of customers worldwide, is essential, not only to prevent unauthorized use of your marks, but also to protect you from potential claims by third parties. Amazon’s IP Accelerator helps small businesses connect with trusted trademark professionals to protect their brands. Clancy PC is excited to be part of the program and to assist small businesses through the trademark registration and Amazon Brand Registry process.”
Clancy PC has received more than 100 trademark requests since the IP Accelerators launch. To read Clancy PC’s Amazon reviews, click here.