April 30, 2019
A logo of a cabin surrounded by trees was the subject of a recent trademark dispute between clothing retailers Roots Corp. and YM Inc. As reported by Yahoo!, Roots filed their cabin trademark first in 2014 (right). YM registered its trademark in 2017 (left).
Roots applied to strike YM’s registered trademark, arguing that the trademark was confusing, lacked distinctiveness, and the declaration of use contained material misstatements.
The Federal Court of Canada disagreed, concluding that YM’s mark would not be confused for Roots’ mark. Justice Locke, as he then was, explained that using an image of a cabin in its inherent environment is no more distinctive than using the word “cabin”. Indeed, a quick comparison of the above logos reveals that none of the shapes, wording or font is similar.
Unsurprisingly, this is not the first time trademark disputes have occurred over logos that contain the same object but are different on their face. For example in 2018, two sausage companies battled over trademarked logos of a pig that each contained different colour schemes, wording, and company names.
Authors: Sarah Stothart and Christina Liao