GLEN BRETON appeal dismissed by the Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the Scotch Whisky Association’s application to appeal the allowance of the GLEN BRETON trade-mark registration. The Supreme Court dismissed the leave application with costs. As usual, the Supreme Court did not provide reasons for the dismissal.

The Supreme Court’s decision means that the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to allow the GLEN BRETON trade-mark application (summarized here) stands. This means that the word “glen” does not designate a whisky produced in Scotland and is therefore not a generic term that is an unregistrable trade-mark under Canada’s Trade-mark Act. Consequently, the word “glen” can be included in trade-marks for non-Scottish whisky sold in Canada. Regardless, whisky proprietors should still conduct clearance searches to determine whether a trade-mark containing “glen” is available for use and/or registration in Canada, since other elements of the trade-mark may be offside.

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, both parties are probably  having a drink – a celebratory one for the winning party that applied for the GLEN BRETON trade-mark (Glenora Distillers) and a good stiff one for the Scotch Whisky Association.

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