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Sounds that send a message Canada now offers protection to distinctive noises and notes that may be linked

to certain brands or products By Margaret Fitzpatrick, Vancouver Sun April 20, 2012 Read more: y.html#ixzz1stNIKSrG The recent move by Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) to protect aural representations of brands and logos, along with visual ones, brings Canada in lockstep with many other countries that already pro-vide protection for sounds associated with brands. The decision comes after a protracted, 20-year legal battle between CIPO and MetroGoldwyn-Mayer Studios, which, in 1992, applied to trade-mark the familiar sound of a lion's roar that starts the studio's films. CIPO, an agency of Industry Canada, had refused, but MGM appealed the decision in the Federal Court of Canada, which on March 28 set aside CIPO's refusal. The decision acknowledges the reality of business and the sophistication of brandsavvy consumers today. "Brand power" is everything today, as consumers associate certain favour-able attributes to specific brands. If you do not believe that consumers are brand savvy, just ask the nearest teen-ager, who is intimately familiar with brands that are "in" or not. Just as design trademarks like the Nike Swoosh have immediate brand recognition, so do many sounds. Consumers know they are watching NBC when they hear the familiar chimes. The Intel Pentium processor is immediately recognizable by those four distinctive notes. Ho-ho-ho is the sound of the Jolly Green Giant. Sound marks serve the same purpose as other trade-marks: they distinguish an organization's goods and services from a competitor's. And in the United States, many sound trademarks, including the NBC chimes and Intel Pentium notes, are protected by sound mark registration. Permitting the registration of sound marks recognizes the priority rights brand owners hold of jingles, notes, and distinctive sounds. (Sound marks do not apply to longer recordings like entire songs, as these are protected by copyright law.) The CIPO decision is also particularly relevant in today's Internet-dominated world. An entire generation of consumers look to the Net not only for their news, entertainment or general information, but also to purchase goods and services. Sound marks lend themselves perfectly to a digital world. Most websites today are interactive and contain audio as part of their effort to reach out to their market. What better way to announce that a customer has found you, than to have a distinctive sound when your site is opened? And now, that distinctive sound can be protected. The CIPO decision sets out the requirements for a sound mark, and that each application for registration of a trademark consisting of a sound should do a number

of things, including state that the application is the registration of a sound mark, contain a drawing that graphically represents the sound, contains a description of the sound and contains an electronic recording of the sound. Just as with traditional trademarks, the same rules apply to sound marks when it comes to selecting one. Choose a strong sound mark that's unique to your organization and differentiates you among competitors. Also, be sure to do your homework. Your reputation is your brand. So do the necessary searches to ensure you are, in fact, entitled to the brand. And register your trademark or sound mark to ensure you have the right to use it throughout Canada this legislation is federal - and to enforce those rights to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark. You must also be aware of the marketplace: don't let others use your trademark/sound mark, or you will lose your exclusive rights. You can license someone to use your trade-mark or sound mark, but do it care-fully. If you don't control how your mark is used, and the quality of the goods and services associated with the trademark, the use isn't attributed to you. If you do find your trademark or, now, sound mark, has been infringed, immediately contact a trademark professional such as a lawyer or trademark agent to see what your options are. It is the obligation of the mark's owner to stop unauthorized use of a trademark in the marketplace. Failure to do so may lead to a loss of distinctiveness and of rights and business. A trademark professional can help you through the clearance of your mark, whether aural or visual, the registration process, and enforcement of your organization's valuable rights. Margaret Fitzpatrick is principal, trademark agent and the office group leader for the Trade-Mark National Practice Group at Gowlings in Vancouver. Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun Read more: y.html#ixzz1stNDBLaD