Canadian Tire loses fight to call itself ‘crap’
But everyone thinks we're crap, company tells WIPO
In what must be one of the weirdest ever domain dispute cases, Canadian Tire has lost the battle to extend its trademark to the words "crappy tire".
While "crap" would be taken by most people to denote a negative feeling, Canadian Tire is having none of it and wanted WIPO to hand over www.crappytire.com to it. Canadian Tire claims that in Canada it is colloquially called Crappy Tire but this has become so ingrained that it no longer means anything bad (it is an "impertinent reference" says the company).
Peculiarly, they are absolute right - when we ran the story originally, a number of Canadians got in touch to say exactly the same thing. True as it may be, however, the law does not allow for trademarks to be extended to entirely different words used in slang.
The company claimed that by owning the domain, Mick McFadden was "attempting to create an impression of an association with Canadian Tire". Somewhat unlikely since he uses the site to slag Canadian Tire off. In fact, later on in the WIPO judgment, Canadian Tire indeed mentions that: "the Respondent has used his website to make rude, untrue and libellous statements about Canadian Tire".
But - and here's the catch - "in an attempt to force Canadian Tire to pay an exorbitant sum of money for the transfer of the domain name in dispute".
Mick McFadden is having none of it. The judgement reads: "Respondent inquires 'since when is the word "Canadian" interchangeable with or similar to "crappy"'?" Fair point, Mick.
He also points out that if you tap "crappy tire" into Google, you'll get 6,380 results (as of 13 April this year anyway). Mick points out "vast majority of returns were for references to 'tires' that were 'crappy' and had nothing to do with Canadian Tire".
Do you get the feeling that Mick was loving every minute of this? Cause we do.
Anyway, needless to say, WIPO dismissed the complaint and now Canadian Tire has to live with the fact that it has no right to call itself "crappy". What a blow to corporate confidence. ®