by SUSAN MANN
The Canadian Horticultural Council’s attempt to trademark the name and accompanying logo of its on-farm food safety program has hit a roadblock.
Clothing retailer, The Gap, has filed an objection with Industry Canada over the council’s use of the word ‘gap’ in its program name called CanadaGAP (Good Agricultural Practices). The program consists of national food safety standards and a certification system for the safe production, storage and packaging of fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s for farmers, packers and storage intermediaries. The certification program of CanadaGAP has been in place since 2008.
Heather Gale, CanadaGAP national program manager, says the council has been in the process of trademarking the name for the past two to three years. The process involves filing an application for a trademark with Industry Canada.
“It becomes a matter of public record,” she explains, noting that anyone objecting to the council’s request for a trademark can file an opposition.
The Gap’s opposition, filed sometime in the spring or early summer, wasn’t unexpected. Gale says when the council came up with the name it was warned by its lawyer that The Gap clothing company generally opposes any attempts by other organizations or businesses to trademark names, logos or designs with the word ‘gap’ in them.
Gap officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
Gale says The Gap clothing company owns several trademarks for variations of their logo and the name.
As for what happens now, Gale explains the clothing company must prove the average consumer would confuse the on-farm food safety program, CanadaGAP, with what its business does. “They have to prove what we’re doing is sufficiently similar to what The Gap clothing company is doing,” she says.
The council doesn’t want to change the name of its food safety program. “We’ve been using it to brand the program for a number of years.”
Industry Canada doesn’t make a decision on the trademark until the opposition is resolved, she explains. BF