Transliterations of Names and Surnames: Revisiting Paragraph 12(1)(A) of the Trade-marks Act
Author(s): Pablo Tseng
This article proposes a revision to the analysis underlying paragraph 12(1)(a) of the Trade-marks Act. Currently, such analysis asks two questions: (i) is the impugned mark the name or surname of a living individual or an individual who has recently died; and (ii) if yes, is the impugned mark “primarily merely” a name or surname from the perspective of the “general public” in Canada. The term “primarily merely” is understood to mean “chief[ly]” or “principal[ly]” and “nothing more than” that. The term “general public” is understood to comprise persons of “ordinary intelligence and education in English or French”. It is argued herein that the foregoing analysis should no longer be determined from the perspective of the “general public” in Canada; rather, such analysis should be performed from the perspective of persons “who normally comprise the market” of goods and services in association with which the impugned trademark is used.