International Trade-Mark Issues

As Canadian companies branch out into foreign markets, it is inevitable that they will confront local trade-mark issues.  It even happens to the titans of the brand-name world. Lawyers for Starbucks Corp. are attempting to stop a new chain of coffee shops in India.  The chain is the brainchild of Shahnaz Husain, an Indian businesswoman, who  plans to use the trade-markStarstruck.

Starbucks is concerned that a coffee-shop chain with a similar name will eat into local market share.  There are plenty of Canadian examples. Take the profusion of knock-offs of Canadian wine  in the Chinese market. A few local wine labels famously billed themselves as ”Whistler Estates, Canada ice wine” and “Toronto Ice Wine”.  The local effect is to erode market share for Canadian companies selling the genuine article.

Addressing international trade-mark issues requires:

  • an awareness of the local business environment including the connotations of your trade-mark in the local language and culture;
  • an awareness of the local options available for trade-mark protection and dispute resolution; and
  • access to expertise in local trade-mark law.

Calgary – 14:52 MST

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