In Gastown district of Vancouver, a newly-founded company has branded itself with a logo that looks like a leaf inside of a circle. The leaf, however, is not maple, it is marijuana. The lawyers of Halifax say that the branding of the recently-formed weed-selling enterprise Air Cannabis could have legal troubles with another company with almost the same logo—Air Canada.
HOV Holdings Ltd., a firm located in Vancouver, filed a trademark application for changing its name to Air Cannabis on Aug. 31, 2016. The name is a brand for the company's website, which allows registered users 21 and older to buy marijuana and marijuana by-products and have them delivered.
Compared to Air Canada’s logo, Air Cannabis' one has a thinner line in the red circle, and the shade of red is not actually the same. However, a lawyer Rob Aske says that it is not necessary for the logos to be the same for it to be a problem.
The spokeswoman for Air Canada, Isabelle Arthur, says that the company has no comment but is aware of the Air Cannabis company’s logo.
The only thing that can work in defense of Air Cannabis is that it has an absolutely different area of operation from Air Canada.
The Air Canada company will likely argue that Air Cannabis infringes on the high level of recognition and respect for their own logo, as it was suggested by a lawyer that specializes in intellectual property.
He mentioned that Air Canada’s logo is among top 10 logos of corporate recognition. They have spent many years building it up, and now Air Cannabis is going to use that for their own needs.
Partick Fitzgerald, another intellectual property lawyer, says that companies can use several legal options when they face someone using a trademark even a bit similar to theirs. Air Canada can sue for infringement on the basis that the trademark of Air Cannabis is used without authorization, and it is likely to spread confusion among customers, even considering that the goods of the companies are unrelated and differ a lot.
The first solution for Air Canada is to write a polite letter with a request to desist from using such a logo. If it does not work, the company will have to resort to legal actions.