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The IP@Nelligan blog is published by the Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP Intellectual Law Group. It provides information and practical insights on legal issues related to intellectual property law in Canada and around the world, including copyright, patents, trade-marks, industrial designs, domain names, trade secrets, licensing, litigation, and much more!

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Do I Really Have to Register My Trademark? Common law and Registered Trademarks

by Adam M. Tracey on April 28, 2016

Do I Really Have to Register My Trademark? Common law and Registered Trademarks

Your brand is often the most valuable part of your business - particularly in fields where there is no underlying technology that differentiates a company’s product or services from a competitor. Why do we enjoy shopping at some grocery chains rather than others, or purchase one brand of car rather than another?

The reasons why we make our consumer choices are numerous and vary greatly: customer experience, perceived value, aesthetics, quality of manufacture, inherent “coolness” - the list goes on and on. However, the fact remains that many of these concepts are intangible and the only way to truly protect a business in the minds of your customers it to prudently protect the brand, as well as the image and “goodwill” associated with it. This is where trademark law comes in to play.

Read more on "Do I Really Have to Register My Trademark? Common law and Registered Trademarks"

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Who Owns The Blues? Led Zeppelin and Copyright Infringement

by Adam M. Tracey on April 14, 2016

Who Owns The Blues? Led Zeppelin and Copyright Infringement

Just a year after a California jury found Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke liable for infringing Marvin Gaye’s copyright in their 2013 hit “Blurred Lines”, Led Zeppelin’s frontmen Robert Plant and Jimmy Page are facing similar allegations that they lifted the opening chords of their 1971 hit “Stairway to Heaven” from an obscure 1960’s band named Spirit, who released the instrumental “Taurus” in 1968.

Page and Plant moved for summary judgment in California Court; however, U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner denied the motion this week, finding that “the descending bass line in both Taurus and Stairway to Heaven appears at the beginning of both songs, arguably the most recognizable and important segments.[…] Additionally, the descending bass line is played at the same pitch, repeated twice, and separated by a short bridge in both songs.”

Read more on "Who Owns The Blues? Led Zeppelin and Copyright Infringement"

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

International Trademark Association (INTA) 2016 Annual Meeting

by Taiji Yoshino on April 6, 2016

International Trademark Association (INTA) 2016 Annual Meeting

The 138th Annual Meeting for the International Trademark Association (INTA) will be held this year in Orlando, Florida, from May 21 to 25, 2016.

The meeting is expected to draw over 10,000 IP professionals from around the world. It features over 300 educational sessions, more than 225 Table Topics, users group meetings with leaders from several national and regional trademark offices, a two-day course on International Trademark Law and Practice with 18 course segments, a two-day Advanced Mediation Training, new Academic Series, Career Development Day, the Trademark Administrators Brunch and much more.

Wing Yan, Taiji Yoshino and Adam Tracey from our Intellectual Property group will all be in Orlando from May 20th to May 26th.

Find out more about INTA General Meeting here.

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.


TAGS: Events


Quebec Introduces a Patent Box - More Provinces to Follow?

by Adam M. Tracey on March 31, 2016

Quebec Introduces a Patent Box - More Provinces to Follow?

On March 17, 2016 Quebec’s provincial budget had an early Easter egg for innovative companies across the province. Specifically, a tax deduction for qualifying innovative manufacturing corporations (called the “DIC”) was announced, which will allow Quebec companies to pay a lower corporate tax rate (4% rather than nearly 12%) on any revenue derived from qualifying intellectual property rights.

Read more on "Quebec Introduces a Patent Box - More Provinces to Follow?"

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.


TAGS: Patent, Tax


When is a Trademark Clearly Descriptive?

by Adam M. Tracey on March 17, 2016

When is a Trademark Clearly Descriptive?

Not every possible name can be registered as a trademark in Canada. As a matter of public policy, it makes sense that we do not want to extend proprietary, commercial rights to descriptive words that should properly be available for the public’s general use.

By way of an illustrative example, one can imagine the chaos that would ensue in the marketplace and the legal world if the Canadian Trademarks Office was to grant a registration for the word “JUICY” to an orange grower. To prevent this from occurring, the Canadian Trade-marks Act prohibits the registration of both “clearly descriptive” and “deceptively misdescriptive” trademarks.

Read more on "When is a Trademark Clearly Descriptive?"

This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2016 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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