Urban Distilleries donate part |
of their proceeds of sale to the
Spirit Bear Youth Coalition
to help protect the animal
Tuesday, 9 September 2014
This Kat would like to say a big thank you to Chris Torrero for sending us the link to this story!
Three years ago, the City of Terrace and Kitasoo Band Council (from British Columbia, Canada) asked Mike Urban to stop using the name and image ‘Spirit Bear’ on his brand of vodkas and gins. Terrace and the Band Council had previously filed trade mark applications for ‘Spirit Bear’. Mr Urban (from Urban Distilleries) refused, as it would mean investing into the creation of a new brand altogether. Terrace and the Band Council therefore sued him and the matter proceeded to Court.
Meanwhile Mr Urban can continue to use the symbol of a Spirit Bear on his bottles and does not have to worry about rebranding. The Spirit Bear is a nickname for the Kermode bear, a white, non-albino species of the black bear, which can be found on the North-West coast of British Columbia. This bear is the official mammal of Mr Urban’s province. Spirit Bear is a reference to the bear, but also to spirits: strong distilled alcoholic drinks.
Since the white Kermode bear is specifically found in that area, it may have been advisable for the authorities to apply for geographical indication protection, relying on Article 22(1) and Article 23 TRIPS. At the moment, there does not appear to be one, which allows anyone to use the name and image of the bear to commercialise their products. However, it is unlikely that the alcohol produced there would qualify for this protection, unless its “quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.”