GLAMOUR’s Appeal Denied

The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. with respect to the Federal Court’s earlier finding in Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. v. Farelyco Marketing Inc.  As readers of this blog may recall from our earlier post on this topic, the Federal Court had found no likelihood of confusion between the Farleyco mark GHOULISH GLAMOUR for Halloween cosmetics and eyelash accessories and the Advance mark GLAMOUR used in association with magazines and related products and services.

The Federal Court of Appeal agreed with the finding of the lower court judge that there was “no factual foundation for the proposition that the appellant has expanded the scope of its GLAMOUR mark by having licensed this mark to third parties”, since the third parties were merely using Advance’s GLAMOUR magazine and website to advertise their own products.

VANOC Gets Sour Taste From Lululemon

Vancouver based yoga wear retailing phenom Lululemon Atletica has tweaked the nose of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games (VANOC), with a new line of clothing. A story yesterday reported that Lululemon has introduced a new line of clothing named “Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 Edition”. VANOC reportedly is upset that Lululemon has only complied with the letter and not the spirit of the laws in Canada that protect the various trademarks used to promote the Olympic Games generally, and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games specifically.

The clothing line in question features various items in the national colours of Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Germany. Notably, the Canadian hoodies feature gold zippers while the zippers in the colours of other countries have silver zippers. Lululemon lost out to the Hudson’s Bay Company in its bid to be the official apparel supplier to the Canadian Olympic team for the Summer and Winter Games during the period from 2006 to 2012.

Readers of the Knowledge Bytes newsletter will be aware of the legislative hammers that are at VANOC’s disposal to enforce its trademark rights against both would-be infringers and ambush marketers alike. These include the Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act, which contains lists of specific words that either can’t be used at all, or that can’t be used in combination with other specific words–for example the combination of “Vancouver” and “2010”. Read more

Trademark Clearinghouse To Help Combat Cybersquatting?

A story earlier this week reported that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) – the organization charged with oversight of the Internet, including the creation of new generic top level domains (gTLD’s) – is considering setting up a centralized database of trademarks to help combat cybersquatting and other negative domain name registration practices.  The proposed IP Clearinghouse would be a depository for trademarks and provide unified rules for trademark holders to block domain name registrations that include use of such trademarks, unless the applicant can prove that its proposed use will be legitimate.

This proposal will be closely monitored by the trademark community as ICANN continues to move forward with its controversial proposal to exponentially expand the number of gTLDs.  The concern of trademark holders is that the task of protecting their brands online, which is already difficult enough with the existing gTLDs, will become prohibitively expensive.

The idea of the IP Clearinghouse was one of the recommendations outlined in the Final Report on Trademark Protection of ICANN’s  Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT).  At the recent ICANN meeting in Sydney, the IRT presented its report. The IRT Final Report was open for public comment until June 29, 2009.   ICANN might not make a final decision on the idea until late 2009, at which time it could potentially decide on a variation of the IP Clearinghouse, depending on the public comments that it receives.

Though it appears to be a moving target at the moment, the launch of the new gTLDs could potentially take place as early as February or March of 2010.

GLAMOUR Mark Fails to Dazzle Federal Court

The Federal Court recently handed down its decision in Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. v. Farleyco Marketing Inc., an appeal from an earlier decision by the Registrar of Trade-marks that had found no likelihood of confusion between the Farleyco mark GHOULISH GLAMOUR for Halloween cosmetics and eyelash accessories and the Advance mark GLAMOUR used in association with magazines and related products and services.  New evidence was filed that went significantly beyond that which had been considered by the Registrar, so the Court considered the matter afresh.

The Court found that both marks were inherently weak as both were suggestive of their wares and services but considered whether Advance’s GLAMOUR mark had “an acquired distinctiveness through use and promotion… sufficient to warrant a wide scope of protection”.

The Court determined that while the GLAMOUR mark was well known in Canada in association with magazines (and thus had acquired distinctiveness), it was not associated with all wares and services that make up the glamour industry.  Advance argued that the wares of both parties belonged to the same general class of goods, namely cosmetic, fashion and beauty, but the Court found: “Just because cosmetic products are advertised, discussed, or otherwise featured in Advance’s magazine and related wares does not mean…  that any acquired distinctiveness of the GLAMOUR mark should extend to cover such products.”

Read more

Payless to Pay More?

Collective Brand Inc., operator of the well-known US discount shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource, is again under attack from German-based sporting apparel manufacturer adidas. In a landmark US decision last spring, adidas persuaded an Oregon jury that Payless had wilfully infringed adidas’ trade mark and trade dress in various sneaker designs, and was awarded over $300 million in damages and disgorged profits. This award represented what was thought to be the largest ever US trademark verdict. On appeal, the award was later reduced to just over $65 million – still, a significant award and an important victory for adidas.

Flush from its win against Payless in the US, adidas has elected to try to repeat its success in Canada. Earlier this month, Adidas AG and Adidas Canada Ltd. filed a claim against Collective Brand Inc. in Federal Court. In Canada, adidas’ action will hinge on Payless’ alleged infringement of the rights adidas enjoys in the well-known 3 Stripes Design, and particularly the rights afforded adidas from these three trademark registrations.

If adidas is successful, it is not likely to be awarded damages anywhere near the amounts it secured in the US; nonetheless, the case will be of interest to both trademark lawyers and sneakerheads alike. We’ll keep all of you posted on material developments.

Oily Loonie offside Official Mark?

Dogwood Initiative, a British Columbia environmental group, is facing legal action from the Royal Canadian Mint over a campaign to add one million oily loon decals to loonies in circulation.  (For our international readers, “loonie” is the commonly used term used to refer to the Canadian one dollar coin.)  Dogwood’s campaign is intended to create awareness about the risks of oil tanker traffic on BC’s north central coast, in the hopes that legislation might be passed banning such traffic.

The Royal Canadian Mint has alleged Dogwood Initiative’s activities bring it offside the Currency Act, but query whether the Mint may also have an action under the Canadian Trade-marks Act (the "Act"), for infringement of the Mint’s Official Mark rights in the loonie.

Section 9 of the Act deals with Official Marks, and in particular, it prohibits the adoption in connection with a business, as a trade-mark or otherwise, of any mark which consists of, or so nearly resembles as to be mistaken for, an Official Mark. Read more

Trade-marks Act Amendments: Put Down That Glass of Canadian Burgundy!

On December 31st, while many readers (and writers!) of the Canadian Trademark Blog were likely raising a glass to celebrate the New Year, long-awaited amendments to the Canadian Trade-marks Act quietly came into force.  The changes pertain to Section 11.1 of the Act which deals with geographic indications.  In particular, the amendments eliminated several terms from a list of wine names that had been deemed generic, and accordingly available for use by anyone, in Canada.

The amendments were motivated by an agreement struck in 2003 between the Canadian government and the European Community concerning trade in wine and spirits.  Under the terms of that deal, the Canadian government agreed to amend the Trade-marks Act to gradually eliminate the use of certain European wine and spirit names on Canadian labels, thereby opening the door to European producers to apply for the protection of these names as geographical indications in Canada. Read more