From Taco Tuesday to Sunday Brunch, restaurants fight over trademarks

Foodie trademark law is a brutal world, in which even the most basic culinary gimmick has probably already been claimed and protected by unforgiving law, from the “Ham N’ Egger” to “Eggs Benny.”

News that a large restaurant franchise conglomerate has threatened a small Tex-Mex cantina in Calgary with a lawsuit for illegally using the trademark “Taco Tuesday” has shone a rare light into the murky world of intellectual property law for foodies.

Location, Location, Location – The issue of descriptiveness in Canadian Trademark Applications

Can you register the name HOLLYWOOD for films and entertainment services? What about MUNICH for beer and pretzels? A resident of Haliburton recently registered the trademark HALIBURTON in association with various goods, causing much debate and controversy amongst the local government officials – particularly in light of recent case law in Canadian trademark law.

Technicalities Matter – Disclosure Requirements in Ontario

Before a franchisor signs up a new franchisee, it must disclose information about the franchise system and business in a disclosure document. Franchise law in Ontario places strict requirements on the contents, form and timing of disclosure. Failure to provide a disclosure document as required by the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure) (the “Act”) can lead to devastating consequences for a franchisor – including the exercise of the franchisee’s right of rescission.

License to Bill – Properly Licensing a Trademark

Your brand is booming and your business is a huge success. You need a business expansion plan, or to sell to someone who can execute one. You don’t want to sell. You are not ready to franchise. What options do you have?

Many brand owners decide to license their trademarks to third parties as a means to grow.

Canada – A Proprietary History

The first legislation in Canada pertaining to trademark protection was the Trade Mark and Design Act, enacted in 1868. Since then, there have been a number of developments in Canadian trademark law, including the passing of the Trade-marks Act which currently governs trademark law in Canada, and the integration of the Newfoundland Trademark Register in 1949 when the province became part of Canada.