Legal Consequences of COVID-19 / Coronavirus on Commercial Contracts

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Cross-Border Litigation, Distributors | Dealers, Fashion Industry, International Joint Venture Arbitrator, International Sale of Goods, International Traders, Manufacturers | Re-Sellers, Marine | Maritime | Aviation, Sale of Goods, Textiles and Apparel0 Comments

Impact of COVID-19 / Coronovirus Events on International and Domestic Commercial Contracts  The reports from China show that COVID-19 / Coronavirus not only has a tragic impact on the lives of very many, but has already caused the consequential events of closure of manufacturing, halting exports and affecting transportation operations. This can be caused by forced movement of labour, government-ordered closure and / or state sanction and embargo, or the business decision to cease production. Interruption of Supply, Outsourcing and Transportation of Goods   This often has serious consequences for Canadian companies dependent upon foreign supply, outsourcing of manufacturing and the international carriage of goods. The central question is often whether or not the performance of a supply, outsourcing or transportation contract is legally suspended or excused because of the events surrounding the spread of COVID-19 / Coronavirus. Frustration | Impossibility  International trade and transportation contracts may not expressly refer to … Read More

Profit Not Required to Find Use of Trademark in Normal Course of Trade

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAppellate Advocacy, Brand Protection, Commercial, Distribution Agreements, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

The Federal Court of Appeal in Cosmetic Warriors Limited v. Riches, McKenzie & Herbert LLP, 2019 FCA 48, set aside the decision and allowed the appeal of the Federal Court judgment allowing an appeal from a decision of the Registrar of Trade-marks, made through her delegate, a hearing officer of the Trade-marks Opposition Board, that found that the trademark had been used in the “normal course of trade” within the meaning of subsection 4(1) of the Trademarks Act, RSC 1985, c T-13 ( the “Act”) and thus maintained the registration of a trade-mark in a proceeding challenging the registration for non-use under section 45 of the Act. In issue was the trade-mark “LUSH,” as registered for use in association with “[c]lothing, namely, t-shirts.” In its decision, the Federal Court of Appeal described that: “The T-shirts and tank tops bearing the LUSH trade-mark are sold by Lush Canada in limited quantities … Read More

Protecting Your Internet Domain Name

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Business Fraud, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Copyright Infringement, Cyber Fraud, Cyber Risks, Domain Name Disputes, eCommerce | Online Retail, Identity Fraud, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet | Technology, Internet Fraud, Passing Off, Specific Performance, Start-Up Disputes, Technology and Internet, Trademark Infringement, Website Copying0 Comments

In the age of the internet and e-commerce, the domain name of a business holds tremendous value and is often an integral part of the identity of a business. Since a website can only have one domain name on the internet, there is no shortage of disputes which arise over ownership rights of domain names, particularly those closely affiliated with a registered or unregistered trademark. What is Cyber-Squatting? Cyber-Squatting occurs when someone has registered a domain name in which they have no legitimate business interest, and can sometimes involve setting up a fake website for a business. The reason could be that the registrant will then seek to sell the domain name to the legitimate owner of the business or trademark, or their competitor for a profit. Alternatively, it may be to syphon away business leads online to competitors for a fee, or for advertising revenues. Typo-Squatting is similar to … Read More

Manufacturers and Distributors – Toronto Litigation Lawyers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorBrand Protection, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Counterfeit Goods, Cross-Border Litigation, Dealership Agreements, Distribution Agreements, Distributors | Dealers, Domain Name Disputes, eCommerce | Online Retail, Passing Off, Retail Disputes, Retail Litigation, Technology and Internet, Textiles and Apparel, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

Our lawyers can provide sound advice and effective representation to manufacturers and distributors involved in actual or potential disputes or litigation.  We focus on a wide variety of manufacturing industries in a broad array of legal disputes, including sale of goods, branding and brand protection, transportation and logistics, supply and outsourcing contracts, unpaid accounts, internal business disputes, construction and urgent remedies. The automotive industry, the food and beverage industry and technology industries in the Toronto – Waterloo Innovation Corridor comprise the most substantial sectors of the Ontario manufacturing landscape. We also can provide advice and representation to the many other manufacturing industries in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario, including these: Automated Machinery and Robotics, Automotive Industry, Auto Parts Manufacturing, Building Materials, Canning and Bottling, Chemical Manufacturing and Supply, Clean Tech, Computer Equipment and Electronic Equipment, Concrete, Brick, Glass, Drywall, Lumber and Stone, Confectionery, Food and Beverage, Financial Technology, Furniture Manufactures and Importers, , Bottling, Packaging and Containers, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning – HVAC, Insulation and Environmental Solutions, … Read More

Removing Deadwood from the Register – Challenging Registration for Non-Use of a Trade-Mark In Canada

Gilbertson Davis LLPTrademark Infringement0 Comments

In Barrette Legal Inc. v. Lawee Enterprises, L.L.C., the requesting party, (“Barette”), sought to remove the owner’s (“Lawee”) Mark, from the trade-mark register for non-use, pursuant to section 45 of the Trade-marks Act (“Act”). Lawee was the registered owner of the trade-mark “Smart For Life Cookie Thin”, which it used to describe and advertise cookies it sold (“goods”). Barrette challenged this registration for alleged non-use in Canada in between May 18, 2013 – May 18, 2016, at para 3. What Constitute “Use” of a Trade-Mark Section 4(1) of the Act states that a trade-mark is deemed to be used in association with goods, if at the time of the transfer of the property in, or possession of the goods, in the normal course of trade, it is marked on the goods or its packaging, or in any manner in which notice of the association is provided to the person whom … Read More

Supreme Court Considers an ISP’s Right to Costs in Norwich Orders for Copyright Infringement

Peter Neufeld, B. Soc. Sc., J.D.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Copyright Infringement, Intellectual Property, Norwich Order0 Comments

Norwich Orders have become a common tool to detect wrongdoers hiding behind the elusive veil of the internet. Whether the matter is with respect to defamation, intellectual property infringement, or fraud, the equitable remedy of pre-action discovery to compel Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) to disclose a wrongdoer’s identity can help claimants determine their causes of action before they commence litigation. A question that has been raised, however, is who bears the costs of the Norwich Order? Is it the claimant seeking the Norwich Order or the ISP subject to the equitable remedy? To complicate the matter further, how does this interact with an ISP’s obligations under the “notice and notice” regime pursuant to Canada’s Copyright Act? By way of background, ss. 41.25 and 41.26 of the Copyright Act govern the statutory “notice and notice” regime for alerting alleged copyright infringers in Canada. These sections under the Copyright Act state that … Read More

Court Considers Jurisdiction in Context of Online Sales

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, Enforcement of Foreign Judgments, Information Technology, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet | Technology, Jurisdictional Challenges, Of Interest to US Counsel, Summary Judgment0 Comments

In Dish v. Shava, 2018 ONSC 2867 (CanLII), plaintiffs obtained judgment in Virginia, including an injunction, against the defendants, who were located in Ontario.  The plaintiffs then brought an action in Ontario seeking recognition and enforcement of the Virginia judgment and injunction in Ontario. On the motion for summary judgment, the Ontario Court considered whether the Virginia Court had exercised jurisdiction based on the Ontario test for jurisdiction: i.e. whether the defendants had a real and substantial connection with Virginia. The defendants owned and operated an interactive, commercial website through which users purchased TV set-top boxes.  The Ontario Court found that the defendants had a real substantial connection to Virginia based on the nature of the business they were operating, specifically: users in Virginia purchased the TV set-top boxes from the defendants’ website.  At least 193 customers with a Virginia shipping address purchased Shava TV product from the Defendants’ distributor … Read More

Court Grants Interim, Interim Injunction Without Specific Evidence of Harm

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Brand Protection, Breach of Confidentiality Agreement, Breach of Confidentiality Clause, Breach of Non-Competition Agreement, Breach of Non-Competition Clause, Breach of Non-Solicitation Agreement, Breach of Non-Solicitation Clause, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Confidentiality Agreement, Confidentiality Clause, Contract Disputes, Employment, Injunction & Specific Performance, Non-Compete, Non-Competition Agreement, Non-Competition Clause, Non-Solicitation Agreement, Non-Solicitation Clause0 Comments

In Knowmadics v. Cinnamon, 2018 ONSC 4451 (CanLII) the plaintiff company sought an urgent interim, interim injunction regarding an app sold by the defendants pending the hearing of a motion for an interlocutory injunction. The plaintiff sold specialized computer software.  The individual defendant was employed by the plaintiff and signed an employment agreement, including a confidentiality and non-competition clause.  The defendant also had a business, the corporate co-defendant, which did subcontracting work for the plaintiff after the defendant resigned from employment with the plaintiff.  The corporate defendant signed a non-disclosure agreement with the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants were selling certain software that directly competed with the plaintiff’s software and infringed the plaintiff’s copyrights.  The plaintiffs commenced an action against the defendants. After commencing the action, the plaintiff alleged that they learned that the defendants were also selling a certain app over which the plaintiffs asserted ownership.  The … Read More

Mattresses and Slogans and Interlocutory Injunctions, Oh My! (Sleep Country Canada Inc. v. Sears Canada Inc.)

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Brand Protection, Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Passing Off, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

In Sleep Country Canada Inc. v. Sears Canada Inc., Sleep Country Canada Inc. (“Sleep Country”) was granted an interlocutory injunction against Sears Canada Inc. (“Sears”) to prevent Sears from using their slogan “THERE IS NO REASON TO BUY A MATTRESS ANYWHERE ELSE” while the trade-mark infringement litigation (in which Sleep Country claims Sears’ slogan infringes on Sleep Country’s trade-marked slogan of, “WHY BUY A MATTRESS ANYWHERE ELSE”) is ongoing.   The three-part test set out in RJR-MacDonald v. Canada (Attorney General) was ultimately satisfied. The heart of the case was not on whether this was a serious issue or on the balance of convenience, but rather, on whether irreparable harm was established.   The Court found in favour of Sleep Country’s arguments that confusion, depreciation of goodwill, and loss of distinctiveness would result, as well as, a loss of sales in the minimum 18-24-month period between the time of this hearing and the determination of the … Read More

Lowering the Threshold of Trademark Infringement? (United Airlines, Inc. v. Cooperstock)

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Information Technology, Internet | Technology, Technology and Internet, Trademark Infringement, Website Copying0 Comments

Since December 17, 1998, United Airlines has been using the website www.united.com, it’s brand name and logo has been used since August 2010, and the design and artwork of the website has stayed relatively the same since 2006 (para 4). United Airlines has a variety of trademarks associated with these services. Cooperstock operated www.untied.com and in 2011 he redesigned the graphics, in a manner similar to the design of the United Website, which was adjusted in 2012 to match changes made by United on their website in 2012 (though with a sad-face added on the United logo for example) (para 10). In United Airlines, Inc. v. Cooperstock, the Court found that Cooperstock infringed United’s trademarks. Trademark infringement occurs when “a trademark or a confusingly similar mark [is used], without the consent of the trademark rights holder, in association with wares or services” (para 29). This case provides an interesting decision regarding the specific element of infringement under … Read More

Shifting The Status of Interlocutory Injunctions: Google v. Equustek Solutions

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Cross-Border Litigation, eCommerce | Online Retail, Injunction & Specific Performance, Internet | Technology, Jurisdictional Challenges, Mareva Injunction, Norwich Order, Passing Off, Technology and Internet, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

The very interconnectedness of the Internet that drives business forward through marketing and access to broader consumer bases may result in loses that currently are not easily remedied. However, jurisprudential shifts are occurring to bridge gaps in the common law that are prevalent in the new age of technology. Google v. Equustek Solutions is a recent decision that potentially expands the scope of interlocutory injunctions in order to ensure that trademark passing-off does not continue to be facilitated, even if unintentionally, by a non-party. Equustek was entitled to an interlocutory injunction to enjoin Google from displaying Datalink’s websites on any of its search results worldwide, and despite Google’s appeal, the decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in a 7-2 decision. Justice Abella, writing for the majority, emphasized the importance of deference and discretion with regards to interlocutory injunctions, which is highly context-driven to ensure just and equitable outcomes (para 22). The Court found the three-part test in RJR – MacDonald … Read More

Court of Appeal Considers Effect of Nude Photos on Contractual “Morals Clause”

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Brand Protection, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Entertainment and Media, Internet | Technology, Media Litigation0 Comments

In Zigomanis v. 2156775 Ontario Inc. (D’Angelo Brands), 2018 ONCA 116 (CanLII), the Defendant entered into a promotional contract with the Plaintiff, who was at the time a professional hockey player.  The contract contained a “morals clause”, stating that the Defendant could terminate the contract if the Plaintiff “commits any act which shocks, insults, or offends the community, or which has the effect of ridiculing public morals and decency.” The Defendant terminated the contract for an alleged breach of the morals clause: specifically, unknown persons published nude photographs of the Plaintiff on the internet.  The photos had originally been sent by the Plaintiff to his girlfriend, before he entered into the contract.  The Defendant argued that sending the nude photos violated the morals clause. The Plaintiff sued the Defendant for wrongful termination of the contract.  The trial judge found, among other things, that the private transmission of nude photographs within … Read More

Toronto Litigation Lawyers for Manufacturers and Distributors

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorBrand Protection, Business Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Distributors | Dealers, Manufacturers | Re-Sellers0 Comments

Our lawyers can provide sound advice and effective representation to manufacturers and distributors involved in actual or potential disputes or litigation.  We focus on a wide variety of manufacturing industries in a broad array of legal disputes, including sale of goods, branding and brand protection, transportation and logistics, supply and outsourcing contracts, unpaid accounts, internal business disputes, construction and urgent remedies. The automotive industry, the food and beverage industry and technology industries in the Toronto – Waterloo Innovation Corridor comprise the most substantial sectors of the Ontario manufacturing landscape. We also can provide advice and representation to the many other manufacturing industries in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario, including these: Automated Machinery and Robotics, Automotive Industry, Auto Parts Manufacturing, Building Materials, Canning and Bottling, Chemical Manufacturing and Supply, Clean Tech, Computer Equipment and Electronic Equipment, Concrete, Brick, Glass, Drywall, Lumber and Stone, Confectionery, Food and Beverage, Financial Technology, Furniture Manufactures and Importers, Glass, Bottling, Packaging and Containers, … Read More

Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Worldwide De-Indexing Order Against Google

Gilbertson Davis LLPAppeals, Brand Protection, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Counterfeit Goods, Cross-Border Litigation, Cyber Risks, eCommerce | Online Retail, Information Technology, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet | Technology, Of Interest to US Counsel, Technology and Internet0 Comments

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc. has approved the use of a worldwide injunction directing Google to de-index the defendant’s website used to facilitate the sale of goods in violation of the Equustek’s intellectual property rights. Equustek obtained an interlocutory injunction against the website owner directly, however the defendant left Canada, refused to comply with the order, and continued to sell products on their website from an unknown location. To help prevent or reduce further ongoing harm, Equustek sought for Google to de-index the site, making it less likely that a potential purchaser will discover the infringing website. Google initially agreed to de-index the result from Canadian search results on google.ca, but refused to enforce this order worldwide. It was concerned that the Canadian courts were using Google to usurp the laws of other nations, particularly on free speech issues, and potentially would force Google … Read More

Rogers Denied Costs of Complying with Copyright Infringement Norwich Order

Gilbertson Davis LLPBrand Protection, Commercial, Copyright Infringement, Counterfeit Goods, Cyber Security, eCommerce | Online Retail, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property, Internet | Technology, Norwich Order, Technology and Internet0 Comments

In the recent decision of Voltage Pictures, LLC v. John Doe, 2017 FCA 97, the Federal Court of Appeal reversed the lower court and denied Rogers its costs of complying with a disclosure order (commonly called a Norwich Order) requiring them to disclose the names and details associated with IP addresses which the plaintiff alleges have infringed its copyrights. At the Federal Court, Rogers was prepared to provide the information, provided they were paid their costs of doing, as is customary for Norwich Orders from non-parties. While on an individual basis the costs may not have been unreasonable, the plaintiff’s concern was that they were pursuing thousands of individual infringers, which would make the cumulative costs of seeking these productions prohibitively expensive. The Federal Court held that the plaintiff did have to provide the amount demanded by Rogers. On appeal, the Federal Court reviewed the relatively new provisions under the Copyright Act which the plaintiff relied on to … Read More

The Importance of Brand Protection

Gilbertson Davis LLPBrand Protection, Business Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Copyright Infringement, Counterfeit Goods, Domain Name Disputes, Entertainment and Media, Information Technology, Injunction & Specific Performance, Internet | Technology, Media Litigation, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

In many cases, a business’s brand, reputation, and goodwill, can be its most important assets. Customers will visit, re-visit, and refer others to a business because of the reputation created through its successful branding initiatives and quality products and services.  Therefore, it is important for any business to be aware of the tools available to protect their brand from being devalued or misused by others. Some of these tools are preventative, such as by registering a trademark with CIPO. the USPTO, or other national trademark offices, and by ensuring the proper assignments or licences are set out in any contracts with any designers or users of your trademarks. The copyrights for creative works can be registered, while fashion designers can seek protection of their creations as an industrial design. Unfortunately, the more successful a trademark or brand, the more likely it is to be used by copycats, counterfeiters, and competitors to drive business … Read More

Former Employee Ordered to Transfer Social Media Accounts in Trade-Mark and Copyright Infringement Case

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Injunction & Specific Performance, Intellectual Property0 Comments

The Federal Court decision in Thoi Bao Inc. v. 1913075 Ontario Limited involved a former employee of the plaintiff developing and operating a competing online news website that infringed on the plaintiff’s trade-marks and copyrighted content. The plaintiff, Thoi Bao, is a well-known Vietnamese language news company that provides news services throughout Canada in a variety of formats including newspapers, radio, television and online.  The company’s website, www.thoibao.com, provides online content such as news, editorials, opinions, links to other news agency services, self-produced television shows and newscasts. The former employee registered the domain name, www. thoibaotv.com, without the knowledge or consent of the plaintiff and began offering online news services in Canada in the Vietnamese language.  The former employee did not appear to make any effort to conceal his activities because the infringing website prominently used TBTV Online as the website title, streamed webcasts that were produced by the plaintiff, and incorporated … Read More