Canada Moves Towards Madrid – the Harmonizing of Canada’s Trademark Laws

On January 27, 2014, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs tabled five IP treaties in the House of Commons, three of which relate to trademarks, namely:

(a) the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (the “Madrid Protocol”);

(b) the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks; and

(c) the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Registration of Marks (the “Nice Classification”).

According to policy on the tabling of treaties, before the Canadian Government can proceed to ratification, the Government must observe a waiting period of at least twenty-one sitting days, during which Members of Parliament can debate aspects of the treaties, before introducing the necessary implementing legislation in Parliament.  The sitting period expired on March 4, 2014, and in a show of unusual governmental stealth, the Government tabled Bill C-31, which proposes significant changes to the Canadian Trade-marks Act.  It is only after implementing legislation is adopted that Canada may consent to be bound by the above treaties.

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