College of Dietitians of Alberta v. 3393291 Canada Inc. (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition), 2015 FC 449

The Applicant College sought to expunge five certification marks and two commercial marks held by the Respondent. The five certification marks include R.H.N. REGISTERED HOLISTIC NUTRITIONIST and variations all including R.H.N. The commercial marks are R.H.N. and R.H.N. AND DESIGN. The Respondent agreed to expunge the two commercial marks.

The Court found three of the certification marks to be clearly descriptive, but not the mark R.H.N. on its own. Without the descriptive text to accompany the mark, it was held that a consumer would not likely know what the letters meant.

All of the certification marks were found to be deceptively misdescriptive, by misleading consumers to believe that the associated services are subject to governmental authority or approval through the inclusion of the word “registered”. The marks were not saved by any finding that the marks had acquired distinctiveness. Additional arguments were also made, but this was sufficient for the Court to order all of the marks to be struck from the Register.