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.

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Comments on “Canadian Supreme Court Groks Trademarks”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Here’s a story about the decision

Here’s one decision:

Here is the other decision

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

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Dave says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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)



Moneyguy says:

Re: 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.)

Moneyguy says:

Re: 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.

Andrew J Cooper says:

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.

creative mind says:

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 )

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

Panic says:

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?

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.

Moneyguy says:

Re: 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.

I, for one says:

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)

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