By Chad Ingram
Published July 26 2017
A local man has successfully trademarkedthe word “Haliburton” and Haliburton County council isn't too pleased aboutit.
“It's our understanding that an individualhas applied to the federal government to trademark the name 'Haliburton'”county chief administrative officer Mike Rutter said during a July 26 councilmeeting.
It seems an error was made at the federallevel and the county would like to see that error corrected.
“It's in direct contradiction of the[copyright] act” said Minden Hills Reeve and County Warden Brent Devolin.“This isn't a grey area at all. This is black and white.”
A guide to trademarks on the Government ofCanada website states that among words that cannot be trademarked are “namesand surnames” and “words that represent a geographical location commonly knownto be the place of origin of such goods or services.”
“You may not register a word that uses ageographical location known to be the place where the goods or services comefrom” the website reads. “Allowing you to use such place names as part of yourtrademark would mean you are the only one who can use the geographical termand that would be unfair to others.”
Rutter said the county has contacted MPJamie Schmale regarding the situation.
“MP Schmale is working hard at this as ishis staff” Rutter told councillors.
“I share the concerns of Haliburton Countycouncil” Schmale told the paper. “This decision in my opinion is ridiculousand unfair to Haliburton.”
Schmale said in his opinion an error hasbeen made as names of geographical locations are not supposed to be open totrademark.
“I’m actually quite shocked the reviewingofficer didn’t do a simple Google search to see what Haliburton is” Schmalesaid adding the individual clearly wasn’t familiar with the area.
“I’ve written to the minister responsible”Schmale continued explaining he’d asked for the approval to be reviewed andreversed.
The response the MP received basicallyindicated the only avenues available at this point are legal ones and Schmaleagain asked the situation be reviewed.
“I’m hoping that the minister will take astep back” Schmale said adding that it would be unfortunate if the county hasto spend public money on legal proceedings over the issue.
Schmale has also filed a freedom ofinformation request for the trademark application.
He said that in his nearly two years as MPand 11 years as executive assistant his predecessor he’d never seen anythinglike this happen in the riding.
The manager of the Haliburton HighlandsChamber of Commerce confirmed to the paper that a couple of member businessowners had experiences with a man who approached them indicating he owned thetrademark to the word “Haliburton.”
It is clear that legal proceedings mayensue.
“If we're going to sue somebody we shouldsue the person in the government who made the mistake” said Dysart et al ReeveMurray Fearrey.
“We will do whatever is required to enforcethis” Devolin told the paper.
The trademark holder is Minden residentMichael Stinson.
Records on the Government of Canada websiteshow that Stinson filed for the word mark trademark of “Haliburton” in Octoberof 2015 with the trademark registered on Feb. 1 2017.
“I know that through the government youcan apply for a trademark” Stinson told the paper adding that anyone has theright to oppose a trademark application which no one did. “I look at that asan opportunity to promote Haliburton outside of the county.”
Devolin said the county did not oppose theapplication because no one was made aware that such an application had beenmade.
Stinson added he also had clothingin mind that would use the Haliburton name.
“Sort of like Columbia North Face L.L.Bean” he said. “I looked at that as a business opportunity to do that.”
“I was looking to promote Haliburton andassist local retailers” Stinson continued adding he had been assistingretailers with distribution of souvenir items and intended to donate moneyfrom the sale of items back to the community.
“Yes I have a licensed business called'The Haliburton Store' which has been registered for over a year” Stinsonwrote in a subsequent email to the paper. “I have been selling various itemswith the Haliburton name and trademark on it all approved by the federalgovernment. I followed the necessary steps to trademarkthe name Haliburton which took over 18 months and the County of Haliburton didnot oppose this application. They had the opportunity to do so. I wanted tomake this perfectly clear as I am passionate about the name of our county as myfamily immigrated here from Ireland in the 1800s and owned the Stinson Millswhere the Orillia [Power Generation] dam is right now. I am the great grandsonof S.F. Stinson the owner. The main reason I trademarked the name was sincethe county appeared to have no interest in trademarking the name then I coulddo it to keep it away from anyone else or company in Canada that might tarnishor put the name in a bad light.”
Trademarks in Canada last for 15 years.