Section 9(1) of the Trade-marks Act (“Act”) prohibits the adoption of marks that are identical to, or so nearly resembling as to be likely to be mistaken for, various categories of ‘things’ that are specified by different paragraphs in the section. These ‘things’ include a variety of regal, governmental or public words, crests, symbols and marks. In some cases the prohibition is automatic, whereas in others it requires that prior public notice be given by the Registrar of Trademarks. In August 2007, public notice was given by the Registrar under paragraph 9(1)(i) of the Act for the following four marks:

Interestingly, public notice was originally given of the national flag of Canada under Section 9(1)(e) of the Act on April 14, 1965. Similarly, public notice of the adoption and use of the “Canada” wordmark as an “official mark” used by the Government of Canada was originally given under paragraph 9(1)(n)(iii) of the Act on August 25, 1982. Anyone wishing to use the Canadian flag – or any of the other prohibited marks – in their advertisements should contact Heritage Canada to seek authorization.