Changes in Canadian Law Bring Unconventional Trademarks into the Mainstream

Through the years there have been attempts to obtain Trademark Protection for what have come to be known as “unconventional” Trademarks, such as sound, scents and moving images.  To date these “unconventional” Trademarks have not received a warm reception, as most applications for “unconventional” Trademarks are refused.  On March 1, 2013 Bill C-56 passed first reading in Canada’s parliament.  If passed, the proposed law will thrust these “unconventional” Trademarks into the mainstream.  It recognizes Trademarks can consist of various signs or combinations of signs including: a word, a personal surname, a design, a letter, a numeral, a colour, a figurative element, a three-dimensional shape, a hologram, a moving image, a mode of packaging, a sound, a scent, a taste, a texture, or a positioning of the signs.   If an Applicant can show that their use of one of the aforementioned “signs” distinguishes their products or services from those of their competitors, protection can be obtained.