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Madrid Protocol in Canada:

The Beverage Industry Magazine recently reported 264% growth of online alcohol sales during the pandemic, giving the expression “hitting the bottle” a whole new dimension. In this and the next edition, we look at distinctiveness, how it is the Achilles heel of registrations and obstacle to Protocol Applications.


Several parties battled over rights to the trademark DIAL-A-BOTTLE. However, Mr. Vardy owned the registered trademark DI­AL-A-BOTTLE for delivery services, essen­tially alcohol order and delivery.

Mr. Vardy licensed businesses but did not monitor the character or quality of the ser­vices provided under the trademark. He lost his registration.

Lessons Learned

A trademark owner must control how its mark is used. Failure to do so will result in the same fate as the DIAL-A-BOTTLE trademark.

Widespread use by others defeats the principle under Canadian trademark law that a trademark must indicate a single source of goods or services. When a trade mark does not indicate a single source, it is not distinctive.

Use by a licensee indicates a single source only if the trademark owner controls the character or quality of the goods or ser­vices which the licensee provides under the trademark.

This applies even if the licensee is a whol­ly-owned subsidiary of the trademark owner. A parent company and its related company are not considered to be a sin­gle source. And control over the “charac­ter or quality of the goods or services” is not presumed by that relationship.

The DIAL-A-BOTTLE decision illustrates the importance of distinctiveness and controlling the character or quality of the goods or services provided by others.

In the next edition, we will to deal with non-distinctiveness in provisional refusals.

For more information on this, please con­tact a member of our team at:

About Us

OLLIP P.C. is an intellectual prop­erty agency and law firm with offic­es in Ottawa and Toronto, Canada.

We are the authors of the leading treatise Odutola on Canadian Trademark Practice: Vol. I Prosecution and

Vol. II Opposition, Summary Cancellation and Appeals, published by Carswell, a Thomson Reuters Business. Now in its 16th year, it is relied on by the Courts, the Trade­marks Office and the trademark profession.

OLLIP P.C. has one of the few lawyers who have been certified by the Law Society of Ontario as dual specialists in trademark and copyright law.

From advice, creation to enforcement – from brands, technology to copyrights – for over 24 years, successful business­es and their counsel have relied on us.

Karen Hansen

Bayo Odutola

Ottawa Tel.:  613.238.1140 Fax: 613.238.5181
Toronto Tel: 647.496.0313 Fax: 647.496.0315


Disclaimer: This briefing note is not legal or professional advice.