Canadian Tire fights for right to be called ‘crap’

Just another day in the WIPO madhouse

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Tyre retailer Canadian Tire is taking compatriot Mick Mcfadden to WIPO over his Web site, which the corporation feels infringes on its trademark.

Nothing new there - if the Web site even contains a majority of the letters of the company name, WIPO will find a way of making Mick hand over the domain. Except that Mick owns www.crappytire.com.

You'd think that Crappy Tire was a derogatory name, but not according to Canadian Tire. People call it crappy tire, but they don't mean it in a nasty way, says the company. In fact, it's a kinda loveable nickname that Canadians have for us. And that's why we demand to be handed the URL which clearly infringes our trademark rights.

No, honestly, this is what is going on. Madness. The fact is that the company has tried twice to buy the URL off Mr Mcfadden, for $3,000 (£1,340) and $5,000 (£2,230). But he refused on the grounds that he didn't like their attitude. Apparently Mick had originally used the site to take the michael out of Canadian Tire, including an upside down version of its logo.

Canadian Tire didn't like it and threatened to sue him, so he took it down but still owns the URL. He then loudly declared that he wouldn't sell it to the company for $1 million - and put it up for sale for $85,000. Desperate, Canadian Tire hit upon the incredible notion that it has rights to the name because that's what people call it colloquially - "impertinent" was the word they used to describe the friendly joshing between the company and Canadians.

Well, Mr Tire, we're afraid you can't threaten to sue someone one day and then claim to have a cracking sense of humour the next. It don't work like that.

Except, of course, at WIPO.

When bored, we occasionally entertain ourselves by reading WIPO "judgments" - which are to an objective legal court what the Pope is to the Taliban. We can hardly wait to see what the WIPO judges come up with on this one. ®

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