Sheff to Publish in Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (JELS)

Professor Jeremy Sheff’s manuscript, The Canada Trademarks Dataset, has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (JELS), a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal. The manuscript accompanies the release of an original research dataset compiled by Professor Sheff from Canadian government records and published on open-access terms. An abstract the article follows:

This article discloses and describes a new research dataset representing the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s historical archive of trademark applications. This individual-application-level dataset includes all applications since approximately 1980, and many preserved applications and registrations dating back to the beginning of Canada’s trademark registry in 1865, totaling over 1.6 million applications. It includes comprehensive bibliographic and lifecycle data; trademark characteristics; goods and services claims; identification of applicants, attorneys, and other interested parties (including address data); detailed prosecution history event data; and links to application, registration, and use claims in countries other than Canada. Both the dataset and the code used to build and analyze it are presented for public use on open-access terms. This article uses the dataset to generate novel descriptive analyses of the performance of Canada’s trademark registration system and the behavior of applicants for registration, both independently and in comparison to the United States and Australia. These analyses suggest that Canada’s trademark registration system is substantially underperforming other nations with respect to efficiency of examination, and that recent statutory and regulatory changes in Canadian trademark law may have the effect of masking or even exacerbating this underperformance while decreasing the reliability of the Canadian trademark registry as an authoritative guide to trademarks used in Canadian commerce.

A pre-publication draft of The Canada Trademarks Dataset is available here

Jeremy N. Sheff
Professor of Law
Faculty Director, Intellectual Property Law Center

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