The date major reforms of the Canadian Trademarks Act come into force has been the subject of much speculation over the past five years. Prior to the publication of the Order in Council 2018-1329, the last rumours were that they would come into effect in March 2019. This Order in Council established the reforms will be effective June 17, 2019.
This date is a key element in defining the trademark strategy of many businesses active in Canada. For example, the reform will abolish declarations of use even for pending applications. Many parties having pending applications were requesting extensions of time until the coming into force of the reform because, in the short to medium term, they had no use or only partial use of their trademark in Canada. With this latest development, applicants who have a final deadline to file a declaration of use prior to June 17, 2019, will not be in a position to secure a registration without use. These applicants may wish to consider refiling an application in the short term for goods or services for which no use of the trademark will occur before the final deadline.
Not all aspects of the reform will apply to pending applications as of June 17, 2019. Several aspects of the existing legislative regime will continue to apply for applications published in the Trademarks Journal prior to June 17, 2019. This includes, for example, the need to correctly state whether the trademark is in use in Canada and, if so, since when. In some cases, applicants may consider taking steps to delay publication until the reform comes into force.
Significant additional changes are contemplated by budget implementation legislation tabled on October 29, 2018 (Bill C-86) and it is possible that these will come into force on the same date. It may be important for some trademark owners to review now their Canadian trademark strategy in light of these reforms.