Canada: Canadian Intellectual Property Office introduces automated pre-assessment in national unexamined trademark applications

In brief

On 6 April 2022, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) implemented the automated pre-assessment of goods, services, and Nice Classification information contained in all national unexamined trademark applications. Applications will be assessed against a pre-approved list of goods and services, and applicants will be receiving pre-assessment letters informing them of the automated analysis results. If the application is flagged as having unapproved goods/services terms, the applicant has the option to amend the application using the pre-approved list to accelerate the processing time to examination from 38 months to about 15 months from the filing date. If you have any questions, or need assistance with filing or amending your trademark applications in Canada, our trademark team would be pleased to assist.


Key takeaways

On 3 May 2021, CIPO introduced new measures to improve timeliness in trademark examination, in response to higher-than-anticipated filings of trademark applications. These measures included the accelerated examination of a trademark application if it contained statements of goods or services selected from a pre-approved list.

To encourage applicants to file a new application or amend an existing unexamined application using the pre-approved list, as of 6 April 2022, CIPO will automatically pre-assess all national unexamined trademark applications for their goods, services, and Nice Classification. As of April 2022, CIPO has begun issuing pre-assessment letters to inform applicants of the outcomes of this automated pre-assessment. The letter will provide information that the trademark application contains either:

  • Acceptable goods or services
  • Goods or services that are not classified
  • An improper Nice classification
  • Unacceptable goods or services
  • A combination of the above

If the automated pre-assessment determines that the application contains acceptable goods or services, the examination of the application will be accelerated whether or not the pre-approved list is used. However, in the case of an unfavorable pre-assessment, an applicant may decide to submit an amended application using the pre-approved list to accelerate its examination. Applicants are not obligated to take any action in response to their pre-assessment letters.

Currently, nationally filed applications in Canada take about 38 months to proceed from filing to examination. However, if a nationally filed application uses CIPO's pre-approved list of goods and services, its examination will be accelerated to about 15 months from the filing date.

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