Trade-mark use descriptions get tricky with tech

That's the title of my Slaw post for today.  It reads as follows. Drafting proper trade-mark use descriptions when registering a trade-mark is important to get the right protection. Drafting uses can sometimes be a challenge when the wares or services the mark is used for is new and changing technology. The use description must accurately describe the wares and services the mark is used for, must stand the test of time, and must satisfy CIPO's (Canadian Intellectual Property Office) rules on use descriptions.

Software is a good example of how things can rapidly change. If a business is selling software in the traditional manner where the user installs it on his/her computer, then from a trade-mark perspective, the software is a ware. It might be described, for example, as "Computer software for [describe function]".

But if that software is being provided as an online service, then from a trade-mark perspective it is not a ware, it is a service. It might be described, for example, as "Online service providing [describe function]".

Then we get to the smartphone world. If it is an app installed on a phone, it would be software. If it is coded in html5 and used through the phone's browser, then it is a service.

Since wares and services are considered to be different things, you can get into the position where, for example, software brand X might be considered confusing with software brand X1 - but not be considered confusing with service brand X1 that provides the same function to the user.