Canadian Supreme Court Groks Trademarks

from the that's-good dept

How disappointing is it that we actually are excited when a court has understood the proper role of trademarks? There are already too many people trying to expand the purpose of trademarks (with occasional success), that it's good to see at least some courts recognize the true purpose of trademarks. Mikester writes in to let us know that the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled against two large trademark holders, Mattel for their Barbie trademark and champaign maker Veuve Cliquot, as both tried to stop the use of their trademarked names in totally unrelated businesses. It seems that so many trademark holders want to believe that a trademark gives them all rights to whatever they trademarked, rather than just the right to prevent confusion or misleading use of the trademark in specific areas. Perhaps we should stop thinking of trademarks as being intellectual property -- because they're not. Trademarks are really about consumer protection; keeping consumers from being tricked into believing something is associated with a company that it's not. When we call it intellectual property, people automatically jump to conclusions about the level of protection the law grants -- and that leads to numerous wasteful lawsuits.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 9:54am

    Here's a story about the decision

    http://www.globeinvestor.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060602.wscoc0602/GIStory/

    Here's one decision:

    http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/2006/2006scc22/2006scc22.html

    Here is the other decision

    http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/2006/2006scc23/2006scc23.html

    A while back the court denied trademark protection for the design of Lego blocks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Aaron deOliveira (profile), Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 9:59am

    Thanks for the links

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 10:49am

    Way Off Topic

    I know shouldn't post way off topic but hey who cares not like there mods to give me bad points right? You used the word GROK! That's great Stranger In A Strange Land is one of my all time favorite books. Robert Heinlein is a friggin genius! Now back to the trademark thing, bravo for Canada. Glad to see some court system out there that actually understands the law and follows it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 11:03am

    Re: Way Off Topic

    "Grok" has been around on the net for ages. Googling the term probably will give you about 20 million hits. I didn't know it was from that book though. Good to know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    TasMot, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Way Off Topic

    To stay way off topic - Heinlein rocks and the book is execellent.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Way Off Topic

    But your spelling is atrocious.
    Atrocious, a-t-r-o-c-i-o-u-s
    Thank you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Way Off Topic

    Can I have the etymology, please?

    (I'm not just off-topic, I'm driving drunk on the topic, veering off and back onto it with wild abandon; you just don't see that part because my headlights are blinding)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Andrew J Cooper, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 12:34pm

    To Grok

    To a martian in the book, water is the ultimate treasure. Rituals evolved in sharing it. To grok means literally to drink/share/be one with in spiritual and even physical sense (in the sharing of the water) very new agey stuff from the '60s when the book was written. Haven't read it about 15 years ago so its hard to remember exactly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Dave, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Way Off Topic

    Grok is Martian for "to drink"

    The etymology has to due with Martian Attitudes (in the context of the book, of course).

    It is used for a high level of understanding. Heinlein's characters described it as becoming one with a concept or person or object, loving it and haint it with equal intensity (Sounds like Brad Pitt and Angelina Joile)

    (I guess I have read the book too many times)

    HTH
    D

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Moneyguy, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 12:55pm

    Off Topic and On Topic

    Anonymous Coward:

    Even though you're off topic, I'm glad you mentioned it. I grok.

    To get back on topic:

    Way to go for the Canadian Supreme Court!

    Common sense seems to be running short these days when it comes to courtrooms - a notable exception is the Enron jury. Hopefully the appelate court will let the decision stand.

    Now if we could get the Canadian Supreme Court to talk to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding their decision on Eminent Domain. (So much for staying on topic.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    creative mind, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 1:08pm

    protection for

    Intellectual property, where it applies to copyright law, is widely misunderstood. By definition intellectual property refers to ideas and concepts, usually before they are produced into a finished trademark for example.

    Chapter 2 of Title 17 (copyright law- check out the link for the whole thing http://www.copyright.gov/title17/ )
    Intellectual property comes into play where Inital Ownership is established. But this is to protect the creatives who make the trademarks (logo, wordmarks, etc).

    For example, I create a logo for company X, who says they cant afford it. They then take my idea to another (cheeper) designer and have it recreated. In this case my idea is protected by Intellectual Property laws.
    For more info check out
    www.creativeprofessional.net

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Lazarus Long, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Way Off Topic

    Heinlein Rox!!! The only reason i read this story or came to this site was the use of that word.
    (PS the book came long before the internet was even conceived - by Al Gore?)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Off Topic and On Topic

    Now if we could get the Canadian Supreme Court to talk to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding their decision on Eminent Domain.

    It would not do much good. There is no constitutional protection in Canada for property rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Joe Smith, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Way Off Topic

    Heinlein Rox!!!

    Starship Troopers was the first science fiction book I ever read (age fourteen) and I loved it and devoured science fiction for years after that. (I still read Keith Laumer) I went off Heinlein when I read Farnham's Freehold which I frankly thought was fascist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Moneyguy, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Off Topic and On Topic

    I didn't know that about Canadian property rights. Thanks for the information. However, maybe the Canadian Supreme Court could just speak about common sense to some of our lawmakers here in the U.S.?

    The few times I've been to Canada I've always been impressed with how people use common sense versus relying on lawmakers to solve problems.

    Probably just a case of "the grass is always greener ..."

    On the other hand, I'll take America's lower taxes and our Bill of Rights over anything else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Panic, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 2:39pm

    Veering off topic, towards a tree and then out of the way straight over a cliff....

    Lazarus -- can we PLEASE let the Al Gore urban legend die?

    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

    Claim: Vice-President Al Gore claimed that he "invented" the Internet.

    Status: False.

    Origins: Despite the derisive references that continue even today, Al Gore did not claim he "invented" the Internet, nor did he say anything that could reasonably be interpreted that way. The "Al Gore said he 'invented' the Internet" put-downs were misleading, out-of-context distortions of something he said during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "Late Edition" program on 9 March 1999.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    I, for one, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 3:57pm

    What about the Apple case?

    And yet Apple won against Apple Records. The judgement was sound imho, but technically, on the facts, Apple (Inc) were trading as a music company. Good to see a bit of common sense on the horizon though.

    OT: Yes he was a good scientist and visionary like Clarke (who predicted/invented satellites) . Heinlein predicted nuclear weapons and the cold war in 1940 (Unsatisfactory Solution - I think)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Paul Pickthorne, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Way Off Topic

    And it isn't champaign, it's champagne.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Moneyguy, Jun 2nd, 2006 @ 9:33pm

    Off topic: Al Gore

    Who really cares what Al Gore said 7 years ago?

    And I don't know if I'd classify it as an "Urban Legend."

    Urban legends should be reserved for really important things such as Pop Rocks and Coca-Cola, not washed up politicians still trying desperately to hold onto their former glory.

    Besides, it's a time honored tradition for politicians and the media to mislead and/or take things out of context as long as it fits into their agenda.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Robert, Jun 5th, 2006 @ 5:50am

    re:Paul Pickthorne

    I thought I was the one who noticed the misspelling of "champagne" in the original story...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This