The Federal Court set aside the decision of the Registrar of Trade-marks (the Registrar) and directed the Registrar to allow Maple Leaf’s trade-mark application. The Registrar had refused the application due to the finding that it so nearly resembled an official mark. On appeal, the Applicant challenged whether the owner of the alleged official mark was a “public authority”. The Applicant argued that if an official mark is advertised in favour of an applicant who is not a public authority then the Federal Court can declare that mark invalid and ineffective at law.
The Court held that a public authority does not broadly refer to a public authority controlled by any country worldwide but rather is limited to public authorities controlled by a Canadian government. There was no evidence that the respondent is subject to control by the Canadian government. Thus, the Court held that the Registrar erred in granting public notice of the adoption and use of the official mark by the Respondent. As a result, the disputed official mark was declared invalid and void ab initio and the Registrar was directed to allow the Applicant’s trade-mark application.