Canadian Trademarks Office Updates Rules on Refusing Extensions of Delays

According to a new practice notice published by CIPO this week, the Trademarks Office (the “TMO“) will no longer grant extensions, as a matter of course, when an applicant needs more than 6 months to respond to an examination report.

As you may remember, until now, the TMO allowed applicants to request one (1) extension of delay, without having to show cause or provide any sort of real explanation. This allowed applicants to get 12 months to respond to the report of an examiner who objected to the registration of the mark at issue. From now, however, the TMO will require applicants to show the existence of “exceptional circumstances” if they want to obtain such an extension. No more of those quasi-automatic extensions, if you will.

No doubt tired of being stuck with average registration delays that we can’t seem to get under control, CIPO basically decided to opt for the homework approach: if the teacher gives you until Friday, you have until Friday -or the dog better really have eaten your homework.

The notice repeats some previously published typical examples of what may be considered “exceptional circumstances”, adding that the concept will apply not only to responding to office actions from an examiner, but also to cases where the TMO is asking a registrant to classify the goods/services associated with his/her/its trademark according to the Nice classification.

Interestingly, the notice also explains (as a similar notice did last year) that, due to a technicality, applicants should note that no governmental fees will generally be payable to request an extension to respond to an examiner report, as the delays at issue are not technically provided by the statute or its regulation. Good to know.