Canadian Political Party Threatens Widow For Using Its Logo In Ad Criticizing Canadian Government

from the how-do-you-spell-streisand-in-canadian dept

Canadian Michaela Keyserlingk lost her husband Robert to mesothelioma in 2009. That's the form of cancer commonly associated with exposure to asbestos. Not surprisingly, she's not particularly happy about asbestos, and she's taken to running online banner ads against asbestos as part of her response. The ads say: "Canada is the only western country that still exports deadly asbestos." And, here's the tricky part: it apparently includes the logo of the (ruling) Conservative Party in Canada. As Rob Hyndman alerts us, the Conservative Party is not at all happy. In fact, it's threatening to sue her for trademark infringement. The Globe & Mail story linked here doesn't do anything useful like show the actual banner, so we've hunted it down, and you can see it below:
That's the party's logo on the right, of course. You can see why the party might be upset, but damn, was it ever a braindead move to threaten a poor old widow for trademark infringement over something like this. As even the woman notes, she doesn't have much money. Threatening and/or suing her doesn't do a damn thing... other than give her campaign a ton of free attention.

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  1. icon
    G Thompson (profile), 15 Aug 2011 @ 6:58pm


    How will it stop her?

    It seems that her Husband died from direct exposure to asbestos, which in nearly every country (except the ones Canada sells it too) is classified as a highly toxic and illegal substance for construction (and other) usage?

    They sent her a nastygram, as you are fully aware it is just a piece of paper that holds no weight other than the implied threat of legal action at some unspecified date, and if action undertaken shows to a court that some sort of ADR was initiated. Big Wally Woop Woop!

    From reading her site it seems she is not one to be easily intimidated, especially by wanna-be political parties who are basically by this threatening behaviour biting their own foot off.

    I'd be very surprised if she has not already been contacted by Canadian and Internationally qualified solicitors/barristers in Trademark law to offer their expertise pro bono.

    As for suing her and she stops using the mark? What's the worst that could happen to her that a civil court can do if she refuses to stop using the mark? Contempt her? that will take lots of time and be politically unsound, not to mention the banner would be taken up and used by anti-asbestos organisations world wide in protest.

    No matter what though, whether to comply, or not with some politicians opinion on whether or not a breach of trademark has occurred, is her decision alone to make.

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