Man Trademarks 'Welcome To Parry Sound,' Demands Money From Parry Sound Organizations

from the ah,-trademark-law dept

You may have noticed that as the field of "intellectual property law" has been getting more and more attention, those who benefit the most from it have done an effective, if misleading, job of convincing people that copyright, patents and trademark are "just like property." That's not true of course, and it's especially misleading when it comes to trademark law, which is designed to prevent consumer confusion, not to provide incentives, like copyright or patent law. But, all too frequently, we see people think that if they can somehow get a registered trademark on a term, it means they can prevent others from using it. Perhaps the most famous case was that of Leo Stoller who got trademarks on a variety of words, such as "stealth," and then started demanding everyone who used those words pay up.

It appears that Stoller is not alone in this game, and this latest example may have taken a misinterpretation of trademark law to another level altogether. Reader Project P1 points us to the news that a guy named Nick Slater was somehow able to secure a trademark on the term "Welcome to Parry Sound." Parry Sound, of course, is a small town in Ontario. Now that Slater has the trademark, he's been invoicing lots of organizations for daring to use the phrase "welcome to Parry Sound," in any way. Thankfully, the various lawyers of those invoiced have all said, clearly, that there's no trademark issue here and not to pay, but Slater isn't giving up. Town residents have been protesting by putting up "Welcome to Parry Sound" signs on their lawn, and one guy set up a "Welcome to Parry Sound" Facebook group.

Slater's response? He sent that guy an invoice as well... and then filed a takedown claim with Facebook which blindly complied.

There is no legitimate trademark claim here, but once again, we're seeing what the concept of "intellectual property" is creating, with people thinking they can own basic things like a town greeting.

Filed Under: nick slater, parry sound, trademark, welcome to parry sound

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  1. identicon
    Randy Higgins, 14 Mar 2012 @ 6:51am

    Still invoicing

    Two years later I am still getting invoiced for my Welcome to Parry Sound facebook group. Non-commercial use of a trademark is NOT infringement. The trademarks act supports this.
    Courts have found that non-misleading use of trademarks in URLs and domain names of critical websites is fair. Companies can get particularly annoyed about these uses because they may make your post appear in search results relating to the company, but that doesn't give them a right to stop you.Anyone can sell diesel fuel even though one company has trademarked DIESEL for jeans. Only holders of "famous" trademarks, like CocaCola, can stop use in all categories, but even they can't block non-commercial uses of their marks.

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