List of proposed trademark items adds hideous to hideous
Is a Mother Canada squeezable squeaking toy really necessary? Regional columnist Russell Wangersky thinks not.
OK, so I’ve already been pretty clear about the fact that I’m no fan of the Mother Canada statue proposed for a national park in Cape Breton.
The statue, of a 30-metre high woman with her arms outstretched, is a hugely blown-up version of the statue Canada Bereft at Vimy Ridge. The statue at Vimy carries the nickname Mother Canada — that’s also the name given to the monster statue planned for Green Cove in Cape Breton, a project with a budget somewhere between $25 million and $60 million.
But while it’s interesting that the Never Forgotten National Memorial (NFNM) charity group wants to spend millions to build the, well, hideously oversized and overwrought statue (and seems to be developing a taste for public money as well) there’s another part of the whole thing that leaves a sour taste for me.
When the Vimy Foundation complained about the new project’s use of the Vimy statue’s Mother Canada nickname, they were informed by the NFNM group’s lawyer that the NFNM had take out a trademark on both the statue’s likeness and its nickname — so, essentially, the Vimy Foundation could take a hike.
The trademark is an interesting one: it says that the group wants to provide services like the “Operation, preservation and maintenance of a memorial park commemorating Canadian war veterans” and provide “public education, awareness and information regarding Canadian war veterans.”
OK then. But then there’s the other part of the trademark.
Now, trademark registration doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to use your trademark on every type of goods and services you get the trademark for, but this trademark — you can see it here: http://bit.ly/1G9nOTt — talks about a huge range of goods that the group wants the protection of a Mother Canada trademark for.
Here’s a start: “Clothing namely, casual clothing, Tshirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, jackets, polo shirts, golf shirts, dress shirts, neckties, tank tops, underwear, vests, sweaters, gloves, mittens, scarves, baby clothing, baby bibs; hats; baseball caps; toques; visors; baby caps; headgear, namely, sports headgear, sports helmets, bandanas, balaclavas, headbands; Accessories, namely, sunglasses, hair accessories, socks, belts, belt buckles, suspenders, tie clips, money clips, purses; knapsacks; overnight bags; school bags; backpacks; recyclable shopping bags and totes; beach bags; beach towels; …”
After another 144 words of trademarked items, you get to Mother Canada-themed “Toys, namely, plush toys, stuffed animals, squeezable squeaking toys, bath toys, puzzles; flying discs; toy spinners; key chains; key holders; novelty buttons; coins; commemorative plates; licence plate holders; crests; figurines; frames for photographs and pictures; fridge magnets; ashtrays; vehicle windshield sunshades; flashlights; golf balls; pill cases; silicon and silkscreen bracelets.”
Now, maybe a Mother Canada squeezable squeaking toy gives you — like me — a short sharp attack of the giggles.
But still further on, things get a little disturbing, especially when you start to think about Mother Canada’s image and name related to these items: “Military clothing, military uniforms, belts, belt buckles, cufflinks; military action toy figures, model airplanes, toy model vehicles and related accessories, radio-controlled model vehicles, toy pistols; military patches for clothing, military medal ribbons, military badges, medals, medallions, lapel pins; military dog tags, drinking flasks, canteens, pocket knives, lighters.”
Even more alarming? “Military-themed games, namely, action skill games, arcade games, board games, card games, computer games, party games, roleplaying games, video games; military commemorative collector stamps (excluding postage stamps); military-themed coins; military flags.”
As I’ve said, just because it’s in the trademark, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to be made.
But when you consider that the monument is meant to recognize the horrible sacrifices made by veterans and their families, it’s hard to conceive what sort of military arcade game or computer game would need to fall under the project’s trademark protection umbrella. It’s just adding hideous to hideous.