We've moved!

Thanks for checking in with CanadaFashionLaw. We've had a little botox and welcome you to go to our improved website: www.canadafashionlaw.com.

A special thank you to Alina Kulesh for all her hard work in helping creating the new website.

Stay fashionable!

CanadaFashionLaw Speaks Up

CanadaFashionLaw has some interesting speaking engagements coming up in the Spring across North America.  If you happen to be in Toronto, Chicago or Dallas (yee-haw), feel free to drop by any of the upcoming events to talk shop:
1.  Fashion Crimes at the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto)
CanadaFashionLaw will be joining fashion gurus, Jeanne Beker, Jeremy Laing, Robert Ott and Nicholas Mellamphy at the Royal Ontario Museum to discuss hot topics in the fashion industry on April 10, 2013.
If you're interested in joining in on the discussion, you can find more information here.
2. John Marshall Law School Fashion and Design Law Symposium (Chicago)
CanadaFashionLaw has been helping some very eager law students across the border set up their first fashion law symposium.  It's great to be around such positive and enthusiastic people.  If you're in the mid-west, feel free to join us on April 12.  You find more about this event by clicking here
3. Fashion Law Roundtable at the International Trademarks Association's AGM (Dallas)
CanadaFashionLaw will be hosting a roundtable discussion on how intellectual property laws can be used to protect fashion designs on May 8, 2013.  Although this roundtable has sold out (on the first day!), CanadaFashionLaw would love to meet up with anyone else attending the INTA AGM. 
It looks like it's going to be a busy couple of months.  What to wear, what to wear?! 

We Care about the Small Players!

Are you a small business owner or entrepreneur in Canada?  Are you frustrated with Canada's intellectual property regime?  If yes, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (and CanadaFashionLaw) wants to hear from you!
The Canadian Intellectual Property Office ("CIPO") is hosting a number of roundtable discussions across Canada in March dedicated to businesses that have less than 500 employees and have filed at least one patent or trade-mark application in Canada.
Essentially, CIPO wants to get input from the trenches on what's working and what's not working.  This is a great opportunity for small businesses to help make the system work for them!
Click here if you would like to register for one of the roundtable sessions?
Want to have your voice heard but can't make it to the event, feel free to get in touch with CanadaFashionLaw and we can speak up on your behalf!

Mon Dieu: Canada est Bilingue!

It’s a good thing that old Montreal is so darned charming because doing business there can cause some retailers a headache!  When launching a product or business in Canada it is important to remember that Canada is a bilingual country.  And it can be a PR and legal nightmare if you forget it! 

The Charter of French Language’s goal is to strengthen the status of the French language in Quebec in all spheres of public life, including business and commerce.  You don’t have to have a brick and mortar presence in Quebec in order for the Charter to apply.  It’s safe to say that if your product is available for sale in Quebec in any way (online, through a third party retailer or at your own retail location), the Charter applies.  French should be used in respect of product wrapping, manuals, websites, advertisements, posters, store fronts, etc.   How the French version is displayed (i.e. prominence) varies depending on the medium. 

The Charter contains some exceptions, which can make the application of the Charter clear as mud.  Generally, if an English version of a trade-mark is registered in Canada, you are not required to use the French equivalent.  However, this exception is currently under challenge.

The Office Quebecois de la langue francaise (“OQLF”) is the body tasked with ensuring compliance with the Charter of French Language in respect of commerce and business.  The OQLF cannot sue or impose fines for violations; however, it can refer the matters to the Attorney General of Quebec which can bring the matter before Quebec’s provincial court.  Generally, penal sanctions are awarded for infractions which can range from $600 to $20,000.  The fines are generally imposed per non-compliant product type, as opposed to item being sold.

In November 2011, the OQLF launched an awareness campaign and tightened its grips on storefront signs requiring French to be used, regardless of the above-noted trade-mark exception.  The OQLF targeted a number of national retailers demanding their exterior signage to be changed.  Collectively, retailers such as Old Navy, Banana Republic, Guess and Gap sought declaratory relief from the Quebec Superior Court.  The Retail Council of Canada is also rolling up its sleeves as an intervener.  It looks like Quebec will remain a retailer’s battleground for 2013!

Stay tuned to CanadaFashionLaw for updates on this!

Toronto Fashion Week - March 2013

Ladies and gentlemen.  I have a little Valentine's Day gift for you, albeit one day late.  Toronto's fashion week, World's MasterCard Fashion Week, has issued its schedule for the Fall/Winter 2013 line.  For full details, go to http://worldmastercardfashionweek.com/calendar/
We continue to see some recurring talent (Pink Tartan, Joe Fresh, Vawk, Bustle, Rudsak, Sid Neigum), which is fantastic!  It's also great to see crowd-pleasing Korhani return to the catwalk.  (Korhani is actually a carpet and rug designer that uses Toronto's fashion weeks to show case how beautiful their carpet designs are.  The sheer creativity is impressive!) 
A special shout out goes to Toronto Fashion Incubator and Fashion Group International, who both made it on to the official schedule.  Toronto Fashion Incubator is hosting two Press and Buyer lunches; Fashion Group International is co-hosting a speed networking event.  CanadaFashionLaw regularly supports both organizations and delights in seeing them try to raise Canada's fashion industry to the next level.
Let us know if you're going to be at any of the shows.  We hope to see you there!