Ashley CHU – Qualifies as Registered Canadian Trademark Agent – The Partners, Associates and Staff at Macera & Jarzyna LLP wish to announce and congratulate Ashley CHU on her recent success in passing the Trademark Agent examinations thereby qualifying as a Registered Canadian Trademark Agent. Notably, this was Ashley’s first attempt at the exams. Well done, Ashley.
Ashley joined the firm as an articling student in 2018 and was called to the Ontario Bar in June of 2019. She received an Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences degree from McMaster University in 2015 and a J.D. from the University of Western Ontario in 2018. During her undergraduate degree, Ashley spent her summers working as a clinical research assistant in the medical biophysics department at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
She is currently a member of IPIC’s Public Awareness Committee, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (Ontario) and the International Association of Young Lawyers.
Ashley practices in the areas of Patents and Trademarks, and last year passed the Patent Agent examinations on her first attempt.
by Mark Butler
On June 1, 2022, the National Assembly of Quebec passed Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Quebec. The purpose of the Act, from the Explanatory Notes, is to affirm “that the only official language of Quebec is French” and “that French is the common language of the Quebec nation.” In line with this broad yet pointed purpose, the Act enacts a wide-ranging series of amendments to various provincial statutes.
At the centre of these amendments, and unsurprisingly given their purpose, are changes made to the Charter of the French Language. The Charter is not a new document, having been first adopted in 1977, and persons doing business in Quebec have long been accustomed to compliance with its various requirements. Importantly, certain amendments to the Charter have implications for the use of trademark rights in La belle province.
The Changes to the Law
Pre-amendment, under regulation made pursuant to the Charter, recognized trademarks within the meaning of the federal Trade Marks Act could be displayed in a language other than French if there was no French version of the mark that was registered. This meant that non-French marks did not need to be registered in order to be exempt from the requirement that they appear in French on products—it was sufficient that they be ‘recognized’. Because of this, common law trademarks and marks in the process of being registered qualified for the exemption.
Bill 96 changes this exemption, now limiting it to only ‘registered’ trademarks within the meaning of the Trademarks Act. Registration is, obviously, a higher threshold than recognition, and therefore many non-French marks which benefitted from the previous exemption will no longer be so exempted. Once this amendment comes into force, only registered trademarks under the federal Act without a registered French version will be able to be displayed on products in a language other than French. However, the requirement does not stop there.
Where a registered trademark with no French version does benefit from the new exception, generic and descriptive terms included in the trademark will still need to appear in French on products on which the trademark is displayed. This requirement is aimed at preventing trademark owners from tacking words on to their registered non-French trademarks in an attempt to obviate the need for translation. While debating the Bill, Simon Jolin-Barrette, then Minister Responsible for the French Language, gave the example of “Softsoap Brand, Lavender and Shea Butter, washes away bacteria, deeply moisturize to hydrate skin”. According to Minister Jolin-Barrette, only ‘Softsoap Brand’ would not need to be translated.
Additional changes impacting trademark use come in the form of new requirements surrounding public signage. Under the new amendments, registered trademarks without registered French versions may appear on public signs, posters and in commercial advertising without a French version. But, where public signs and posters are visible from outside premises, French must be ‘markedly predominant’. This means that non-French registered marks ‘visible from the outside of premises’ must be accompanied by ‘markedly predominant’ French text.
The amendments to trademark display on products and public signage discussed in this section will come into force on June 1, 2025.
What this Means for Trademark Owners and Users
Many owners of non-French marks that do not qualify as registered trademarks under federal law will need to take action to continue using their marks after the coming into force of the above amendments in June of 2025. Registration of non-French versions of marks is the surest way to be compliant under the new laws. Given the lengthy delays in examination with the federal Trademark Office, trademark owners should act immediately where they wish to obtain registrations for their non-French marks, and may consider means of expedited examination, where possible.
Where trademark owners own registered marks without French versions, they should still check their marks for generic or descriptive language, as the new law states that such language must be translated even where the mark is registered with no French version.
Finally, trademark owners should be cognizant of how their marks are displayed in public. Where non-French registered marks are legitimately displayed and visible from the outside of premises, they should be accompanied by French text that would appear to passersby to be ‘markedly predominant’.
Contracts in Licensing
The Changes to the Law
Bill 96 enacts important changes to the language requirements of contracts of adhesion (where the terms are dictated by one party). Henceforth, parties may enter into non-French contracts of adhesion, but only where they have first had the opportunity to inspect a French version of the contract. One type of contract to which this requirement does not apply is ‘a contract used in relations with persons outside Quebec’.
Where parties have agreed to enter into a contract exclusively in English, any other materials related to that contract may also be drawn up in English.
These changes come into force on June 1, 2023.
What this Means for Franchisors
In the context of trademark ownership, the above changes to the law of contracts in Quebec will likely have implications for franchisors. In licensing marks in Quebec, the new language requirements in the formation of contracts of adhesion will be important where such contracts are used. Unfortunately, at this time it is not clear just exactly how wide of a scope is contemplated by the phrase ‘in relations with persons outside Quebec’. As this phrase comes to be better defined by the legislature, the courts, and the administrative officials tasked with upholding the Charter of the French Language, franchisors will come to better understand whether and to what extent they can qualify for this exemption.
by Mark Butler
by Janice Kelland
Recent amendments to the Canadian Patent Rules which will affect the cost of examining patent applications in Canada have just been registered and will be in effect before the end of the year.
These requirements can be avoided if a request for examination is filed before October 3, 2022.
Excess claims fees will be required:
when examination is requested:
Effective October 3, 2022, if a patent application has more than 20 claims when examination is requested, an additional government fee of $100 CAD per additional claim must be paid. For example, if an application has 25 claims when examination is requested, the government examination fee will be increased by $500. A 50% reduction of this fee (to $50 CAD per additional claim) applies if small entity fees are paid for the application.
A voluntary amendment can be filed at the time examination is requested to reduce the number of claims for which excess claims fees must be paid.
when the final issuance fee is paid:
As well, if more claims than were paid for at the time examination was requested are added to the application at any time before the application is allowed, even if they are deleted before allowance, excess claims fees to pay for the further added claims will be included in the final fee which must be paid for grant of the patent. Fees are due for claims which add to the total number of claims on file at any one time, not for claims which simply replace deleted claims without increasing the total number.
Examples of calculations are summarized below:
|No. of claims in application when examination requested
||Additional examination fee for excess claims
||Max. no. of claims presented at any time during examination
||No. of claims in application at allowance
||Additional final fee for excess claims
|20 or fewer
||20 + x
||20 + x or fewer
|20 + x
||20 + x
||20 + x or fewer
|20 + x
||20 + x + y
||20 + x + y or fewer
Requests for continued examination will be required if more than two office actions are issued
A further new requirement coming into effect on October 3, 2022 is related to the number of examination reports issued by the Examiner during examination of the patent application.
If the examiner issues a third report identifying defects in the application that need to be addressed before the patent can be granted, a request for continued examination (RCE) will need to be submitted along with payment of a government fee of over $800 CAD. Again, a 50% reduction of this fee applies if small entity fees are paid for the application.
If a further two examiner’s reports are issued after a request for continued examination has been filed, a further RCE must be filed along with payment of an additional government fee. Issuance of examiner’s reports and filing of requests for continued examination can continue until the application is allowed, finally refused or abandoned.
If you wish to proactively file a request for examination for one or more applications before October 3, 2022 to prevent these additional government fees being applied, or if you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us – we are happy to help.
Download a PDF version of this notice.
by Janice Kelland
The Partners, Associates and Staff at Moffat & Co. wish to offer their congratulations to Rebecca Huang on her recent call to the Bar. Rebecca completed her articles with or sister firm Macera & Jarzyna LLP this spring and is now a freshly minted Barrister & Solicitor and member of the Law Society of Ontario. Congratulations Rebecca !!