As many owners of Canadian trademark applications will know, there is a considerable backlog in examination of new applications by the Canadian Trademarks Office. In May 2021, the Office announced a suite of measures aimed at reducing the backlog (see our earlier articles here and here). One of these measures gives applicants the option of using a list of pre-approved goods and services in their applications. Applicants who avail themselves of this option can expect a new application to reach first examination in approximately 15 months, which is materially faster than the current estimated timeline of approximately 22 months for applications not using the pre-approved list.
The Office has just announced that as of April 2022, it will start automatically issuing pre-assessment letters to applicants or their appointed agents, informing them of the results of an automated pre-assessment of the goods, services and Nice classes in unexamined trademark applications. The pre-assessment letters will advise the applicant or their appointed agent whether the list of goods and services appears acceptable or not as well as whether the goods and services appear to be properly classified. While an applicant is not obliged to respond to any potential problems raised a pre-assessment letter, depending on the issues identified by such a letter, applicants may wish to consider submitting an amended application using the pre-approved list of goods and services with a view to accelerating the examination timeline. The Office notes that if the pre-screening identifies applications that contains acceptable goods and services without having used the pre-approved list, examination of the application will be accelerated.
Any measures taken by the Office to improve examination times is a welcome development for all trademark stakeholders in Canada, and the hope is that the pre-assessment letters will contribute to overall improvements in examination times.
Please contact a member of our trademarks team for assistance.