Then we'll switch to the Trade-marks Act changes. This is part 4, division 7, subdivision B, clauses 214 to 242.
Just by very quick way of background, this is in part related to concerns from trademark stakeholders about the possibility for what some people call “trademark squatters”, individuals who take out trademarks with no intention of using them for the purposes of trying to shake down individuals who they believe are already using that trademark in a non-trademarked way, or likely will anticipate the need of someone for that trademark.
What this does is a number of things. First, it adds bad faith as a ground of opposition to the register of a trademark and for the invalidation of a trademark.
Second, it prevents the owner of a registered trademark from obtaining relief for acts done contrary to that trademark during the first three years after the trademark is registered, unless the trademark was in use during that period or special circumstances exist that excuse the absence of use.
Very quickly, without getting into too much of the technical details of trademark law, one of the exceptions to use in the trademark process is during the first three years of a trademark, because, in many cases, you will have trademarked a good, but you can't use it because you're just getting going.
Our concern was that it could be a trademark squatter who is hiding under that three-year exception to be able to potentially still use that three years to shake someone down for cash. What we have said is that, during those three years, you have no access to remedies, so you can't pursue damages against that individual if you're not using the trademark.
We also clarify that the prohibitions in subparagraph 9(1)(n)(iii) do not apply in section 11 of the act with respect to a badge, crest, emblem or mark that was the subject of a public notice of adoption and used as an official mark if the entity that made the request for the public notice is not a public authority or no longer exists.
Very briefly, this relates to the system of official marks in Canada. Official marks are, by and large, relegated or are subscribed to public authorities and public entities. The Canada Wordmark is a good example. There is a whole host of other badges and crests that are official marks. They're put on the registry by public authorities. There are a lot of them, and one of the challenges is that some of the people who put them on the list weren't public authorities under the definition, so when people seek to use that official mark, they're prevented from doing so because this public authority put the official mark on the registry.
The other thing is that many of them no longer exist. There are many official marks related to the 1976 Montreal Olympics. There are many related to Canada Games in most cities and provinces across the country, and many for events that took place decades ago. People are prevented from using those official marks currently, despite the fact that they can't reach an agreement with the entity to use them, because the entity doesn't exist anymore. This, essentially, will allow people to be able to use those official marks without having to seek an entity when the entity is no longer in place.
We then also modernized the conduct of various proceedings before the registrar of trademarks under the act, including by providing the registrar with additional powers in such proceedings. This is essentially to give some additional teeth to the trademarks opposition board, including the opportunity for case management and the ability to potentially levy costs in cases where people are making frivolous use of the trademarks opposition board.
Finally, we make certain housekeeping amendments to provisions of the act that are enacted by the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1, and the Combating Counterfeit Products Act, which is essentially to bring us in line with changes in anticipation of Canada's accession to the Madrid protocol and that lay on from these provisions that I laid out earlier.