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Japan and Canada Modifying Trademark Laws

Josh Conley \ March 27, 2015

Recently, Japan and Canada announced upcoming changes to their respective trademark laws.  These forthcoming changes add broader protection and greater flexibility to each country’s respective trademark laws.

Canada

Canada is preparing for a number of significant changes to their trademark system that will take effect sometime in 2016.  As part of a trade agreement with the European Union, Canada will be joining the Madrid Protocol, which allows Canada to be included in international trademark strategies in a simpler and more cost-efficient manner.

Canada will also be adopting the Nice classification system that is used in a large number of countries.  Adopting the international classification of goods and services under the Nice system could result in some marks being required to update to their current classification to be compliant.

The adoption of the Singapore Treaty will also be impacting Canadian trademark laws.  By implementing the Singapore Treaty, the renewal term for a mark will be dropped from 15 years to 10 years.

Japan

Although not as dramatic on the international field, Japan is expanding protection to less conventional forms of marks as part of its new Trademark Act that goes into effect April 1, 2015.  Japan will now allow for the protection of sound marks, moving marks, color marks, hologram marks, and position marks.  Although some of these types of marks are self explanatory some are not as clear.  A moving mark covers a mark that has a particular animation.  A position mark covers marks that are present in particular situations, such as the coveted red found on the bottom of Christian Louboutin shoes.

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