Comparing Apple to Apple

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

Latest Olympics Trademark Dust Up Is Of Anthemic Proportions

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

Liberals Settle Green Shift Trademark Dispute

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.

Green Shift Trademark Battle Steps Up

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.

Liberals’ Shift To Green Hits Trademark Roadblock

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

New .CA Whois Policy Now In Place – With A Twist

In a recent post, we reviewed the pending changes to the .CA Whois policy. On June 10, 2008, those changes were implemented. The biggest change is the cloaking of most of the Whois information for individual registrants, regardless of whether the domain names of such registrants are being used for commercial, unlawful or other purposes. In response to concerns of both law enforcement officials and the owners of intellectual property rights, CIRA has also implemented special procedures to permit the disclosure of personal information about individual .CA Registrants, provided various requirements are met.

For intellectual property owners, those requirements are numerous, including that the Requestor must have a good faith “Dispute” (as defined) in process with the Registrant, the Requestor must agree to provide CIRA with whatever supporting documentation CIRA may require from time to time, the Requestor must have attempted to send a message to the Registrant through the Interested Party Contact Procedure no less than 14 days prior to this request with no resolution of the Dispute.

The term “Dispute” is exhaustively defined and requires that a Requestor reasonably believe in good faith that a Registrant’s domain name and/or its content (presumably this reference to content is to content of a website that the domain name in question links to, rather than the content of the domain name itself) infringes the Requestor’s registered Canadian trademark, copyright or patent or registered Canadian (Federal or Provincial) corporate, business or trade name. A Dispute can also involve the use of the Requestor’s personal information without their knowledge or consent to commit identity theft.

CIRA Announces Formal Revisions To Implement New WHOIS Policy

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority has issued a news release announcing revisions to a number of its policies, rules and procedures, which are required to formally implement its new WHOIS Policy. These revisions will become effective on June 10, 2008. As reported in an earlier posting, the changes to the .CA WHOIS Policy will permit individual registrants of .CA domain names to not publicly disclose their WHOIS information.