Forget me, Forget me not: Canadian Intellectual Property Office

By: Stephanie Williams (IP Lawyer) & Jose Seba (Senior Associate)

Businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of protecting their brands in the Canadian market.

Interest in acquiring trademark registration in Canada has increased significantly in the last several years.  From 2015 to 2021, the volume of new trademark applications filed at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) increased by over 50%.  In 2021, CIPO received approximately 76,000 new trademark applications, compared to only 50,000 in 2015.  Nearly half of the client enquiries that CIPO received in 2021 were related to trademark matters.

The increased interest in registering trademarks in Canada has put pressure on CIPO’s trademark department and has led to a backlog of applications awaiting examination. Currently, the average time from filing to receiving either a first official action or approval of a trademark application is 22 months.  By comparison, the time to receive such correspondence for patent applications is 14 months, and 12 months for industrial design applications.

The surge in interest in registering trademarks in Canada and the significant backlog of applications awaiting examination are signs that CIPO must invest in more trademark personnel. CIPO has recognized this need and is currently making targeted efforts to grow its trademark department.

In the meantime, CIPO has taken measures to expedite examination for some applications.  One of these measures uses artificial intelligence to either pre-approve or flag possible issues with descriptions of goods and/or services in applications awaiting examination.  This measure is expected to reduce the delay from filing to examination for all trademark applications. 

To learn how to accelerate examination and other trademark tips, we encourage you to engage a local agent.  For more information on trademarks in Canada, do not hesitate to contact one of our experts at BRION RAFFOUL LLP!