Government improving the way Canadian businesses protect their intellectual property around the world

News release

Significant trademark regime reforms and three key trademark treaties enter into force in Canada

June 17, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario

A sound intellectual property (IP) system is key to attracting investment and helping businesses succeed globally and innovators reap the full rewards of their hard work.

In support of this, Canada’s accession to the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty and the Nice Agreement came into force today, allowing Canadian businesses to apply for trademark protection in up to 120 countries with a single application. The treaty systems will benefit Canadian innovators looking to protect and leverage their IP abroad and will help drive long-term growth and economic success.

To enable accession to these treaties, Canada made amendments to the Trade-marks Act and adopted new regulations. The changes represent some of the most important reforms to the trademark regime in decades. The modernized framework will have important benefits for businesses, including reducing filing costs, lowering the administrative burden, enhancing e-services, and allowing for new forms of trademarks such as holograms, colour and scent.

Accession to these international treaties is another step in implementing Canada’s Intellectual Property Strategy and is furthering the Government of Canada’s efforts to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation. It will allow Canada to better participate in the global IP system, positioning the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) as a premier international trademark office and advancing our collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which administers the treaties.


“Accession to these treaties and the corresponding legislative changes are just the latest steps in implementing our first ever national IP Strategy. We are making it easier for Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators to protect their IP rights at home and abroad, as well as encouraging foreign investors to do business in Canada.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“The International Trademark Association congratulates CIPO on the Madrid Protocol, Nice Agreement and Singapore Treaty all coming into force in Canada this June. These treaties grant important benefits and options to trademark owners in Canada and across the globe. We applaud CIPO’s hard work and dedication to improving the IP system in Canada.”
– Etienne Sanz de Acedo, CEO, International Trademark Association

“The upcoming changes to Canada’s trademark laws usher in an exciting new era in which companies can file trademarks more easily in Canada. Canadian companies with global vision will be able to harness the advantages of an international registration based on their existing rights in Canada. These changes are in keeping with international norms and modernize Canada’s trademark regime in important ways.”
– Patrick Smith, President, Intellectual Property Institute of Canada

“We are absolutely delighted that Canada, one of the world’s largest economies, has acceded to the international trademark system as well as other key trademark treaties administered by WIPO. This is a true reflection of Canada’s engagement with WIPO and its commitment to multilateralism.”
– Francis Gurry, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization

Quick facts

  • Canada’s IP Strategy is a key component of the overarching Innovation and Skills Plan.

  • The Madrid System allows applicants to apply for trademark protection in up to 120 countries with a single application in one language and with fees paid in one currency. WIPO received 61,200 international trademark applications under the Madrid System in 2018. This is a 6.4 % increase over 2017.

  • The Singapore Treaty harmonizes administrative trademark registration procedures throughout member countries.

  • The Nice Agreement provides for the consistent classification of goods and services across multiple countries, facilitating global trademark searching.

  • Canada also acceded to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs in November 2018 and is working toward implementing the requirements of the Patent Law Treaty.

  • In addition to helping Canadian businesses and innovators better understand, protect and leverage their IP, Canada’s membership in these treaties will help attract foreign investment and facilitate international competitiveness and trade. 

Associated links


Dani Keenan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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