Sound Marks in Canada

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What’s the sound of a trade-marks office changing its tune? The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) reversed its long-standing policy against sound marks by abruptly issuing a new practice notice last week, announcing that it will accept sound marks for registration in Canada. As we argued a few years ago (Time for Sound Marks in Canada?), this change has been debated and anticipated for many years, and no trade-mark owner is more aware than MGM, the applicant that has pursued its iconic lion’s roar sound mark since the application was first filed in October, 1992 (Application No. 714314). MGM’s lawsuit has resulted in a Federal Court order that paved the way for CIPO’s new policy.

The application for the registration of a trade-mark consisting of a sound should:

  1. state that the application is for the registration of a sound mark;
  2. contain a drawing that graphically represents the sound;
  3. contain a description of the sound; and
  4. contain an electronic recording of the sound.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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