Descriptiveness and abbreviations, acronyms or initials
Publication Date: 2010-10-26
Trade-marks consisting of or containing abbreviations, acronyms or initials are examined for any clearly descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive meanings, in English or French, as applied to the character or quality, place of origin, conditions of, or persons employed in the production of the associated wares or the performance of the services.
In deciding whether a trade-mark is clearly descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive, it must be determined what first impression the mark would create upon the everyday user or purchaser of the wares and/or services (Wool Bureau of Canada Ltd. v. Registrar of Trade Marks (1978), 40 C.P.R. (2d) 25 and Mitel Corporation v. Registrar of Trade Marks (1984), 79 C.P.R. (2d) 202).
A trade-mark that consists of or contains an abbreviation, acronym or initial is considered unregistrable pursuant to paragraph 12(1)(b) of the Trade-marks Act if the trade-mark, when considered in its totality and as a matter of first impression in association with the wares and/or services, is clearly descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive. The Office considers that the mere addition of an abbreviation, acronym or initial of a clearly descriptive word or phrase contained in the trade-mark will not render the trade-mark registrable.
Note: This practice notice is intended to provide guidance on current Trade-marks Office practice and interpretation of relevant legislation. However, in the event of any inconsistency between this notice and the applicable legislation, the legislation must be followed.