Just in time for Robbie Burns day, Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal has ruled that a Canadian distiller of whiskey can use the word GLEN in its trademark, without misleading Canadian consumers into thinking that its product is whiskey that is from Scotland. This is the latest round in the battle by Bedford, Nova Scotia based Glenora Distillers to register the mark GLEN BRETON in the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in association with its single malt whiskey. There’s no word yet on whether the Scotch Whiskey Association will appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Sleeman Breweries has reportedly filed a lawsuit against Dead Frog Brewery over Dead Frog’s use of a clear glass bottle design, in association with its beer. Sleeman is the third largest brewery in Canada; Dead Frog is a small and relatively new enterprise located in Aldergrove, BC. Invoking references to the classic David v. Goliath story, the President of Dead Frog has stated that the lawsuit is a silly waste of time, that there are many similar clear glass bottles on the market, and that the raised glass frog design on his bottles makes his products distinctive from those of Sleeman.
For its part, Sleeman will likely rely on its Canadian Trademark Registration for a distinguishing guise. A distinguishing guise is a type of trade-mark that is a distinctive shaping of goods or their containers or a mode of packaging or wrapping such goods. To obtain a registration for a distinguishing guise in Canada, an applicant must prove that the distinguishing guise is, in fact, distinctive of the applicant’s wares in Canada. This normally requires proof of significant sales and advertising in every region of the country over an extended period of time. Read more
A report in the Globe and Mail tells the story of a small Vancouver Island school’s run in with tech heavyweight Apple Inc. in a dispute over the use of the school’s logo. Victoria School of Business and Technology (VSBT) reportedly adopted, three years ago, a logo featuring an apple with a silhouette of a mountain and the letters VSBT superimposed over top. VSBT’s apple has three bumps at the top of the apple, uses the colours blue, white and green quite prominently, and the apple is whole: no bite appears to have been taken out of it, as is the case with Apple Inc.’s well known logo. Apple’s logo, which is the subject of numerous registrations at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and which has been in use for over 30 years, features a bite taken out of the right side, two bumps at the top and no letters or other figures superimposed on it. In the marketplace, the logo is often depicted in an off-white colour; historically, it also often appeared in stripes and other colours as well.
As is often the case in these disputes, the media is portraying the issue as pitting VSBT’s “David” against Apple’s “Goliath.” The school’s website states that “VSBT is the leading provider of computer and business training for government ministries, corporation and individuals,” and indicates that training is available on both IBM-style personal computers as well as Apple’s MACINTOSH-brand computer systems. At the time of writing, we could locate no record in CIPO’s online trademark database of an application to register VSBT’s logo. Read more
A Canadian Press Story today reports that the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games (VANOC) has recently filed applications with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) to register the phrases WITH GLOWING HEARTS and DES PLUS BRILLIANTS EXPLOITS as trademarks. These applications are filed based on proposed use in Canada in association with a lengthy shopping list of goods and services. They also claim priority from earlier filed European Community Trademark (CTM) applications, filed with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) in March of 2008. Interestingly, the CTM applications are filed in the name of Filemot Technology Law Ltd. and not VANOC.
Canadian readers will immediately recognize WITH GLOWING HEARTS and DES PLUS BRILLIANTS EXPLOITS as phrases from “O Canada”, the Canadian national anthem. Copyright buffs out there might already know that the anthem was long ago placed in the public domain by the Government of Canada pursuant to the National Anthem Act. Read more
In an update to our previous posts on this topic, the federal Liberal party has apparently settled the dispute surrounding its use of the mark THE GREEN SHIFT, just in time for this fall’s recently called election race to begin in earnest. According to a story in the Canadian Press and the Liberals’ own website, the Liberals have reached an out of court settlement with Green Shift Inc., whereby the Liberals now have a license to use the mark THE GREEN SHIFT in association with their environmental policy. As is typical in such matters, terms of the settlement were not made public.
In an update to an earlier post, the battle between the Liberal Party of Canada and Green Shift Inc., over the trademark GREEN SHIFT, continues, with the Liberals having recently filed their Statement of Defence in the Court case.
In a Vancouver Sun story, the Liberals claim they never intended to intended or desired to trade off any reputation or goodwill established by Green Shift Inc. Green Shift Inc. owner Jennifer Wright disagrees strongly, citing the receipt by her company of numerous emails apparently intended for the Liberal party, seeking further information about and both panning and praising the proposed initiative, as well as Liberal party members themselves giving out incorrect references to Green Shift Inc.’s website in the House of Commons. Apparently, out of Court settlement discussions are still taking place.
Canada’s federal Liberal Party, the official opposition to the ruling Conservatives, has been sued by a Toronto environmental consulting and supply company called Green Shift Inc. for alleged misappropriation of that company’s corporate name and trademark, GREEN SHIFT. CBC is reporting that the owner of Green Shift Inc. registered the company name in 2001 and is seeking $8.5 million for “general and special damages” and a further $250,000 for aggravated and punitive damages. The lawsuit also seeks a Court injunction to stop the Liberals from using or displaying the words “Green Shift” or any other trademark or domain name that is similar to that used by Green Shift Inc.
Under leader Stephane Dion, the Liberals have made environmental issues a major thrust of their platform for the next election, which "pursuant to fixed date election legislation" will be held on or before October 19, 2009. As a part of their initiative, the Liberals recently launched “The Green Shift”, the details of which are set out at the website www.thegreenshift.ca
Green Shift Inc. claims that it provides consulting services to different governments across Canada, and that in order to continue doing so it needs to be seen as neutral in its political affiliations. The company claims that the Liberals’ adoption of the words “Green Shift” is its causing clients, potential clients and the general public to erroneously conclude that the company has aligned itself with the Liberal party. Read more