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The Green Shift trademark mountain being made out of a molehill?

So I’ve been reading where some conservative bloggers are claiming that “The Green Shift” website and name that the Liberals have come up is a copyright infringement of the company known as Green Shift at their website, and that an imminent cease and desist order is imminent from this company to the Liberals. However, Jeff over at Where’d That Bug Go called the company, and a representative said they apparently hadn’t gone that route yet. So, we’ll wait and see what happens there.

2 things that make me sceptical that this is going to lead to anything: Note that at the bottom of the Liberals “The Green Shift” website, the following disclaimer is down there:

This site is authorized by the Federal Liberal Agency of Canada, registered agent for the Liberal Party of Canada. It is not affiliated with Green Shift Incorporated. The following is a link to the Green Shift Incorporated website:

So, as Red Tory said over in his comments section talking about the same story, it’s not as if the Liberals weren’t aware of this company, and if they’ve posted that on launch, they would have felt confident they weren’t violating any trademark names.

Also from that comments section, frequent commenter Catherine posted this about the trademark issue, as she did some investigation of her own:

Information on trademarks is available at the CIPO website. Green Shift Inc’s request for trademark registration has not been approved and has not moved beyond the search phase. From all the correspondence and extensions noted, there appears to have been problems with registering this name well before anything to do with the Liberal Party. Perhaps a coincidence, but the latest correspondence from CIPO was sent out on Feb 18, 2008 with a deadline of June 18, 2008.

If that’s true, then as Red Tory stated in the next couple of comments, the issue seems to be not as big as our Blogging Tory comrades would have you believe.


12 comments to The Green Shift trademark mountain being made out of a molehill?

  • Moby

    Green Shift Incorporated should get over it!!
    The web search and liberal site both steer people to their company’s site. I should think they would thank the liberals for the added business they may enjoy. No doubt the silly threat of a lawsuit will bring even more attention to their company, but that is ALL they deserve. Go GREEN…without the BS fertilizer!!

  • Regarding other uses of the name Green Shift – our focus is on helping the environment and where possible we would always prefer to avoid law suits. If/when we have found conflict, confusion or potential for damaging us, we have issued notices – firstly just as a friendly email, followed by legal notices where necessary. We did not bother with ecoperth for although there could be confusion, we have not experienced any confusion or damage to our knowledge. Having a National Political Party develop an environmental program and calling it by the same name as an environmental program that we have developed is quite another matter. I think many would be surprised to know what we have gone through to develop and protect this name, and the number that have removed themselves and/or been removed from it. And for everyone who is missing the point – the name of our company is irrelevant – we have developed and been using the term Green Shift to represent an environmental program. We have major common law rights, and a pending application on various componments of the Green Shift. Furthermore, a basic websearch would tell anyone what we are about and fortunately ignorance does not hold up in court. For all those asking about the status of our trademark application – because we do cover so many areas, our trademark has passed preliminary approval but simply had a few last clarifications to be approved. For anyone who does not know – a date stamp is gold, providing it can be substantiated with legitimate use – all of which we have. As for legal registration of a website – anyone who reads the agreement that they sign when registering a website will see that they are stating that they have done their due diligence and are not infringing. Check out ICANN for the laws on this.

  • Whooee! I reckon there’s a simple win-win solution here. Ijust thought of it when I was leavin’ a comment over at Cam’s blog.

    The BBQ season is coming up. The Grits’ll be out there eatin’ corn-on-the-cob, burgers, wieners,maybe some steaks or ribs and some potato salad. Like at almost every big BBQ, food will be served on disposable plates. Drinks will be served in disposable cups. Grits will struggle with plastic steak knives.

    This will be repeated scores over times over the summer.

    From what I gather, this outfit, sells biodegradable, cornstarch-based plates, cups and utensils. If the LPC were to place a humongous order for BBQ supplies for all the LPC summer BBQs, I figger the purveyors would be happy shifters and they’d shift into high gear on deliverin’ green party supplies.

    There you go, Grits. Another good idea brought to you by a Green. Now, go and make lemonade.


  • Regardless of the merits of this company’s case, you’d think the G&M and NP could have done a little more research or simple google searches before running with the story.

    If the GreenShift company wants to issue a cease and desist letter to
    the Liberal Party of Canada to be fair I would think then they really should start writing more.

    Take this GOVERNMENT OF CANADA Dept. of Transportation website for instance:

    Green Shift
    REIC Perth is a small Perth-based environmental consulting company
    that manages and coordinates ecoPerth activities for the town of Perth.

    What are they doing?
    The Green Shift project will develop a unique and innovative
    sustainable transportation tool…..

    So we can have a GREEN SHIFT PROJECT no problem but a THE GREEN SHIFT
    PLAN is worthy of possible legal action and top headlines on the G&M
    and National Post websites? Even when there is a disclaimer at the
    bottom of the website saying it has nothing to do with and the Transportation Dept website doesn’t? If the claim is just about similar website names well there is and and and there haven’t been issues raised with those.

    If any article covering this doesn’t soon mention all the other uses
    of Green Shift (including the project sponsored by the Canadian
    Government) then that’s hardly balanced reporting in my opinion.

    The National Post story seem to makes clear this company would
    very likely have no real case in court, but the story still has the headline “Liberals in Deep Shift”. Continuing with headlines
    and top of the page news coverage continues to give legs to a damaging
    claim (that the Liberals infringed on their copyright) that doesn’t seem to have much merit to it once examined by any copyright experts.

    The company’s main concern is that no one think they are affiliated to the Liberals (and I don’t doubt they are really concerned about that), but they do have to demonstrate that’s a legitimate possibility and I just can’t see how anyone would be confused especially if this company doesn’t have an issue with the Transport Canada site that’s also political.

    h/t to Red Tory, Hopefully Worth Writing Down, Where’d that Bug Go,
    etc… for doing extensive google work already on this (including
    finding the link above)…

  • mark

    Yes, the very real concerns of this exemplary company are a “mole hill”.

    Circling the wagons against a company we would be lucky if all companies were like, will compound this problem exponentially.

    There’s a time to put partisan support for one’s party leader aside,

    and that time would be now.

  • Ted

    The Liberals did not properly vet this phrase. The company is incorporated as green shift. The National Post has also picked it up.
    This has made the Liberals look foolish, plain and simple.

  • I think that “Green Shift” is somewhat generic term. I have posted some examples of where it has been used here

  • For the record, the Globe and Mail ran a story on this tonight. So, it’s not just a vast right-wing conspiracy that’s noticed.

  • KR

    PS: I like this commenting system you use. Better than the one on blogger.

  • KR

    @Red Tory

    I checked it out too … and I am not sure I see an overlap with what the Libs are doing in that exhaustive list – since the federal party isnt selling anything, analyzing anything or providing consulting services or food.

  • I checked out the application at the CIPO and, as Catherine indicated their application appears to be stalled at the examination stage. Which isn’t surprising when you look at the boatload of goods and services they want covered by it (it will really knock your socks off!).

    My understanding is that they may have some recourse if they want to sue in civil court but I’d suggest they may have undermined any case they might have by indicating that the name is so vague that it could be conceivably be applicable to an enormous list of potential goods/services (e.g., urinal blocks… I kid you not).

    Seems like a whole lot of nothing to me. But I could be wrong. If they wanted to make a stink I suppose it could garner them some publicity I guess. Not in a particularly good way though.

    By the way, thanks for the mentions in your post and the trackback.

  • I think it only becomes an issue if the mainstream media picks it up and so far, not a word. As well, I have trouble believing that a company all about “bein’ green” would take the Liberal party to court over a green policy.

    My two cents, now back to weeding the garden.

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