Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee to Trade-mark part of our Anthem

The Globe and Mail reports today that the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) quietly applied to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office for trade-mark rights to the phrase “with glowing hearts” which is part of the well-known refrain in our national anthem O Canada: “With glowing hearts we see thee rise, the true North strong and free.”

Our National Anthem Act declares both the words and the music of our national anthem to be in the public domain. An unofficial copy of the schedule to that Act, showing both the words and music, is shown below (as allowed by the Reproduction of Federal Law Order)

National Anthem Music

VANOC’s recently filed application (September 12th) for the mark WITH GLOWING HEARTS (no. 1410532) includes a very lengthy list of proposed use (intent to use) wares and services, including such wares as laundry bleach, jeans, camcorders, trucks, gasoline, tankards not of precious metal, fruit drinks, apple sauce, electric accumulators and such services as legal services and radio broadcasting.

I suspect, however, that before this application registers, this long list of wares and services will be trimmed down significantly. That, or we’re going to be having a lot of goods and services offered here in Canada under the WITH GLOWING HEARTS brand by VANOC or its licensees.

I can see it now, I may soon be able to purchase a new WITH GLOWING HEARTS truck (or maybe even an SUV), drive it around town and fill up on gasoline at the local WITH GLOWING HEARTS gas station, all while wearing my WITH GLOWING HEARTS jeans, drinking some WITH GLOWING HEARTS fruit juice out of my WITH GLOWING HEARTS branded tankard (not of precious metal) and listening to a WITH GLOWING HEARTS radio broadcast. However, unless I obtain a trade-mark license from VANOC, I don’t think I’ll be offering my legal services under that mark.

See also VANOC’s official announcement wherein it states that “VANOC does not have and has no desire to own the phrases With Glowing Hearts …”. Hmmm, I wonder if that statement would be sufficient to shift the evidentiary burden back to VANOC (to try to proof that it truly intended to use that mark in relation to all those goods and services) - if someone were to oppose the application based on section 30(e) of the Trade-marks Act.

Then again, this business probably has stronger grounds of opposition under s. 16(3)(a) or even s. 16(3)(c).

Finally, a similar article to that in the Globe & Mail was also featured today on CTV.CA.

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