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Apr 17, 2012 (Newsletter Issue 6/12)
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Sound Marks Now Registrable

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office announced in its Practice Notice dated March 28, 2012, that they are accepting sound-based trademark applications. Previously, CIPO took the position that sounds could not be trademarked.

The application for the registration of a trade-mark consisting of a sound should:
1) State that the application is for the registration of a sound mark;
2) Contain a drawing that graphically represents the sound;
3) contain a description of the sound;
4) Contain an electronic recording of the sound.

Where it is not clear whether an application is intended to cover a sound mark, the Office will ask the applicant for written clarification.

Where a sound mark is considered to be functional and/or clearly descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive, an objection will be raised pursuant to the provisions of the Trade-Marks Act.

New applications for sound marks may only be submitted by way of a paper application, and not through CIPO's online filing system. For instance, the Office can only accept a recording of the sound in MP3 or WAVE format, limited to 5 megabytes in size, and recorded on a CD or DVD. Other types of recording media and references to a hyperlink or a streaming location cannot be accepted.

Source: Joli-Coeur Lacasse Avocats, Canada