Advertising - Using Prefixes that May/May Not be Brand Names in Association with Variety Names

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Background

Seed advertisers and sellers should be aware that under Parts I and III of the Seeds Regulations, there are restrictions on the use and advertising of variety names. Firstly, under Part III, paragraphs 67.1(1)(h) and 74(1)(f), trademarking a variety name before or after the variety has been registered is a reason to refuse or suspend a registration. Under 5.2 of the Variety Naming Guidelines of the "Procedures for the Registration of Crop Varieties in Canada," neither the variety name nor any part of it may be trademarked. Secondly, under Part I subsections 10(1) and (2), no person shall use a variety name "unless the seed is of that variety" and "no person shall use or allow to be used a modified or qualified variety name". Finally, under Part I subsection 15(2) "no label shall show any brand name or mark that might be construed as the name of a variety".

Policy

Prefixes may be used as part of a variety name under the following conditions:

  • the prefix is not trademarked
  • the prefix is not a prohibited or official mark
  • the variety is registered with the prefix as part of the variety name

If a company has a brand name that they wish to use in advertising in association with a registered variety name, this is acceptable providing the brand name is conspicuously and legibly identified as a brand name. For example, if a company has a brand called "DMX" and a variety registered under the name "1234", the company can advertise the variety using one of the following methods:

"DMX 1234"
"DMX® 1234"
"DMX Brand 1234"

It is not acceptable to advertise the variety as DMX1234 or DMX 1234.

For the purposes of labelling official pedigreed seed tags with variety names, only the name by which the variety is registered, i.e. "1234", can be used.

Originally issued March 11, 2003 (Information Letter To Industry)

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