IP Update

Captain Morgan makes Admiral Nelson’s walk the plank

by Ekaterina Tsimberis and Renaud Garon Gendron

On June 12, 2017, the Federal Court issued its 99-page decision in Diageo Canada Inc v Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc et al. The Court found Heaven Hill and its Canadian broker Diamond Estates liable for passing off their ADMIRAL NELSON’S rum products as those of Diageo and for infringing and depreciating the goodwill attaching to Diageo’s CAPTAIN MORGAN character and label trademarks.

The decision is a reminder of the clear benefits of registering key character and label elements on product packaging as trademarks. The Federal Court’s decision also demonstrates that trade dress protection is alive and well in Canada and joins a rather limited amount of jurisprudence where a defendant has been found liable for depreciation of goodwill of a registered trademark.

Diageo was successfully represented by François Guay, Mark Evans, Ekaterina Tsimberis and Renaud Garon Gendron.

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The preceding is intended as a timely update on Canadian intellectual property and technology law. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please communicate with our offices directly.

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