In May 2021, CIPO added upwards of 60 cannabis- and marijuana-related terms to the Goods and Services Manual (the “Manual”).
Most of the new terms fall into Nice Classes 3 (non-medicated toiletry preparations), 5 (pharmaceuticals), and 30 (foodstuffs of plant origin). However, new terms have also been added in Class 16 (namely “printed publications in the field of cannabis”), 42 (“scientific research in the field of cannabis”) and 45 (“legal research in the field of cannabis”).
Many of the new terms describe medicinal uses of cannabis or marijuana, including the form in which the product is provided and the use covered by the description. Examples in this category include “marijuana oil for the relief of nausea”, “cannabis salve for the treatment of psoriasis”, and “cannabis capsules as a sleep aid”. The new entries in Nice Class 30 relate to snack foods containing cannabis, such as chocolate, cookies and granola.
Terms in the Goods and Services Manual are pre-approved by CIPO, meaning that they will be accepted without further specification if selected. This may help applicants avoid objections under s. 30(2)(a) of the Trademarks Act, which requires that applications contain “a statement in ordinary commercial terms of the goods or services in association with which the trademark is used or proposed to be use”. The level of specificity required may come as a surprise to foreign applicants, as they go beyond that which is required in many other countries.
In the absence of a pre-approved term, applicants and their trademark agents must rely on their judgment and more general criteria in order to define the goods or services covered by an application, such as analogies with other pre-approved terms or recently accepted applications. The addition of these terms may therefore remove a cloud of uncertainty faced by applicants in the cannabis space.
In adding these terms to the Manual, CIPO demonstrates its continued openness to facilitating filings related to cannabis and marijuana. Pre-defined terms for cannabis products date back to January 2018, when “dried cannabis” and “live cannabis plants” were added to the Manual, in the lead-up to the legalization of recreational cannabis in October of that year.
Fasken’s team of experienced professionals are available to assist you with the full range of cannabis-related legal issues, including trademark matters.
David McLauchlan is an associate within the Intellectual Property Practice Group. He works chiefly in the areas of health and life sciences. He advises clients on drafting and negotiating research agreements, as well as on issues related to regulatory responsibility, ethics and compliance.