Effective as of March 28, 2012 the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) is accepting applications to register trade-marks consisting of sounds. These applications must contain a description of the sound and an electronic recording of the sound itself (in mp3 or WAV format, with a maximum 5MB size).
Sound marks have been allowed in some other jurisdictions. For example, sound marks registered in the United States include MGM's lion's roar (this is the mark that has paved the way in Canada, as MGM's lion's roar is the first Canadian sound mark application approved by CIPO), Harlem Globetrotters' "Sweet Georgia Brown", Intel's short chord sequence for its microprocessors, and Twentieth Century Fox's famous fanfare.
Applications for sound marks will be treated like any other trade-mark application. They must be associated with specific products and services, and must meet all the applicable requirements. For example, CIPO will object if there is a pre-existing registration or application for a confusing sound mark, or if a sound mark is considered functional or clearly descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive.
For more information about registering sound marks in Canada, please contact Dave Spratley or Chris Bennett.