Navigating Ways Around Section 9 Official Marks
Author(s): Tony Bortolin
Thousands upon thousands of marks, including common simple words, have been prohibited and monopolized by public authorities under section 9(1)(n)(iii) of the Trademarks Act. While the provision has contributed to Canada being a leader in the protection of official marks, the country is equally embarrassed and frustrated because the provision has been interpreted broadly and otherwise abused, especially through the blocking of the use or registration of numerous common words. But there are some ways of dealing with these prohibitions, especially in respect of such words, and in respect of marks monopolized under the provision by provincial or municipal (non-federal) public authorities.