In a recent summary judgment decision, Driving Alternative
Inc. v. Keyz Thankz Inc. 2014 FC 559, the Federal Court of
Canada decided that the Federal limitation period of six years
applied to an alleged trade-mark infringement which occurred in
Ontario because the evidence of the Plaintiff established that the
activities of the Defendants caused damage to the Plaintiff beyond
Ontario, including confusion in Alberta.
The Federal limitation period applies where the "cause of
action" arose otherwise than in a single Province and the
Federal Court held that the cause of action included the damage
suffered by a party, not just the act that caused the damage.
Moreover, the Court agreed with the Plaintiff that it seems unjust
to bar, by way of a provincial statute of limitations, national
trade-marks rights of the Plaintiff.
This case is significant given the trend provincially to reduce
limitation periods generally to two years in most cases. Under the
reasoning in Driving Alternative, most acts of trade-mark
infringement – even if they occur within a single Province
– will cause damage nationally. Therefore, plaintiffs suing
on such infringing conduct will enjoy the benefit of a six-year
limitation period, and not be limited to the two-year period
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A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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