​The not-for-profit sector is a significant part of the Canadian economy in no small part due to  recognition of esteemed trade-marks and brand identities which have been carefully cultivated over time.  Additionally, new and creative branding ideas are just as likely to be generated by the not-for-profit sector as the commercial sector and co-branding relationships between non-profits and others are common.

In June of 2014 the Parliament of Canada passed legislation which will bring extensive changes to theCanadian Trade-marks Act ("Act").   Additional trade-mark legislation is working its way through the Senate of Canada and is expected to be passed into law within the coming months.

The changes to the Act will broaden opportunities to obtain trade-mark protection in Canada and abroad.   

The new legislation means that the Regulations which accompany the Act must be significantly amended and the Canadian Intellectual Property Office ("CIPO") has initiated public consultation on draft amendments.

The thoughts of those in the not-for-profit sector would be a welcome contribution to this very important public policy discussion and those engaged in the creation, promotion, use and licensing of not-for-profit brands should consider making submissions in respect of the draft regulations.    

The draft amendments and information about them can be found at http://www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cipointernet-internetopic.nsf/eng/h_wr03851.html#background.  The Regulations as they currently exist and will be subject to amendment can be found at http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-96-195/index.html

The consultation period is open until November 30, 2014 and CIPO will ultimately publish all submissions on its website. 

It is currently expected that the amendments to the Act and Regulations will become law by the end of 2015 or in early 2016.

Submissions can be detailed or straightforward and anyone in Canada or elsewhere is welcome to send comments about the draft regulation amendments to CIPO and can follow the submission instructions in the first link above to do so.