Friday, September 26, 2008

VANOC's Excessive IP Efforts

There’s a big fluff over VANOC’s trade-mark application for WITH GLOWING HEARTS. See the Globe and Mail story, for which I was interviewed, here.

Far be it from me to defend the overly zealous - indeed excessive - Vancouver Olympic IP effort, but actually, it was a "normal" trade-mark application. However, enough defence. The application does have an abnormally excessive and absurd list of wares and services, especially considering the nature of VANOC and what the Olympics is all about.

The list includes everything from automobiles, to diesel fuel, to circuit breakers and pages and pages of other seemingly random stuff that suggests a massive merchandising and endorsement scheme afoot. But would anyone really

As for taking of public domain phrases for use as a trade-mark, I don't see a problem in principle.

If someone decided to sell cat food under the trade-mark RULE BRITANNIA, that might be silly from a business standpoint and self respecting cats might not eat it, it would be quite acceptable from a TM law standpoint.

The other interesting aspect of this is that when the reporter called me late the other night, I asked if he had googled WITH GLOWING HEARTS. He had not and we did it on the spot. The first hit was this lovely website for a small business in Stratford, Ont. that sells woollen clothing and appears to have prior use of this trade-mark for clothing.

Clothing. That could be a problem for VANOC. Fortunately, the little Stratford business, called WITH GLOWING HEARTS, and a URL with that same trade-mark has a very fine IP lawyer. So this could get very interesting.


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