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19 October 2004

Grocery stores do not infringe TRADITION

In Tradition Fine Foods Ltd v The Oshawa Group Ltd, the Federal Court of Canada has dismissed the plaintiff's claim that the use of the word 'Tradition' in a trade name for grocery stores infringed its TRADITION mark for bakery products. The court held that confusion was unlikely since the defendants were not using the name specifically for bakery products.

14 September 2004

Summary judgment claim falls foul of Rule 216

In Spenco Medical Corporation v Emu Polishes Inc, the Federal Court of Canada has rejected the defendant's summary judgment application for dismissal of the plaintiff's trademark infringement action. The court held, among other things, that pursuant to Rule 216 of the Federal Court Rules a full trial was necessary to assess properly the credibility of the parties' evidence.

22 July 2004

Quebec court makes child’s play of game producer’s claims

In Thibault v Importations Géocan Inc, the Quebec Superior Court has rejected the plaintiff’s claims that the defendant had infringed its trademark rights in the title and packaging of its educational game for young children. The court found that (i) the title of the plaintiff’s game was descriptive and, thus, unprotected by trademark rights, and (ii) the games’ packaging was dissimilar.

22 June 2004

Supreme Court to hear Lego appeal

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted an application for leave to hear an appeal from the Federal Court of Appeal's decision in Lego Canada Inc v Ritvik Holdings Inc. The Supreme Court will consider whether a trademark that is primarily functional is nevertheless entitled to protection when secondary meaning and confusion are established.

19 May 2004

VEUVE CLICQUOT decision marks setback for famous marks

In Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin v Les Boutiques Cliquot Ltée, the Federal Court of Appeal has upheld a trial judge's decision to dismiss the plaintiff's claim that the use of the CLIQUOT mark in relation to clothing infringes and dilutes its CLICQUOT marks for champagne. This decision is a notable setback in the battle to increase protection for famous marks.

07 April 2004

Federal Court finds no need to defer to Trademark Opposition Board

In Alticor Inc v Nutravite Pharmaceuticals Inc, the Federal Court of Canada has ruled that the defendant's use of its NUTRAVITE mark did not infringe the plaintiff's NUTRILITE mark for identical goods. The court gave little weight to the Trademark Opposition Board decision to refuse the NUTRAVITE registration on the basis that it was confusingly similar to the NUTRILITE mark.

02 March 2004

Union ordered to stop use of parody TV commercials

In TELUS Corporation v Telecommunication Workers Union, the British Columbia Supreme Court has granted an interlocutory injunction restraining the defendant - a body representing the plaintiff's employees - from broadcasting television commercials criticizing the plaintiff, which were parodies of the plaintiff's own commercials. The decision follows case law that has established that free speech rights cannot be used in a way that infringes IP rights.

17 February 2004

Ontario's new limitations act will affect trademarks

The Ontario Limitations Act 2002, which limits the period in which an action may be brought to court to two years from the date a claim is discovered, has come into force. This will affect trademark litigation as the Canadian Trademarks Act does not prescribe a limitation period that would supersede that of the new Ontario act.

13 February 2004

Contempt of court order issued for infringement outside Canada

In LifeGear Inc v Urus Industrial Corporation, the Federal Court of Canada has held the defendant in contempt of court for continuing to offer for sale counterfeit products over the Internet following an earlier court order prohibiting such sale. The court came to this conclusion, in spite of the fact that the website appeared to be operated outside of Canada by a third party.

12 January 2004

Potential confusion over milk packaging warrants interim injunction

In Agropur Coopérative v Saputo Inc, the Quebec Superior Court has granted a motion for an interim injunction ordering the defendant to stop marketing, selling and distributing milk products using a packaging similar to the registered get-up for Agropur's ULTRALAIT products.

03 December 2003

Sign not used as trademark may amount to passing off, rules court

In Tommy Hilfiger Licensing Inc v International Clothiers Inc, the Federal Court has ruled that the defendant's use of a trademarked design that was confusingly similar to that of the plaintiff amounted to passing off, even though it was not used as a trademark.

06 October 2003

Lego block's look cannot function as a trademark

In Lego Canada Inc v Ritvik Holdings Inc, the Federal Court of Appeal has followed the lead of courts in other jurisdictions, finding that Lego has no valid trademark in the look of its toy blocks because the look is a primarily functional feature of the toy.

15 September 2003

Canadian generic use of European wine and spirit names to end

The European Commission has approved a bilateral agreement under which Canada and the European Union will commit to protect each other's geographical indications for wines and spirits. Under the agreement, names such as Chablis, Marsala or Port will only be used in Canada to label European wines.

28 July 2003

Injunction on the menu in restaurant corporate name dispute

In Quebec Inc v Quebec Inc, the Quebec Superior Court has granted a motion for a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendant from using the corporate names 'Restaurant L'Ancestral' and 'Restaurant La Maison L'Ancestral II' for its restaurant. The court held that both names were confusingly similar to the 'Restaurant L'Ancestral' name used by the plaintiff.

24 July 2003

Opposition to NUTRAVITA mark fails

In Alticor Inc v Nutravite Pharmaceuticals Inc, the Federal Court of Canada has affirmed a Trademark Opposition Board decision to allow the registration of the term 'Nutravita' as a trademark. The court concluded that the marks NUTRAVITA and NUTRILITE would not be confusingly similar when used in association with vitamins, minerals and herbs.