The Municipality of Temagami enjoys recognition as a unique cottage, canoeing, and wilderness area and it is becoming common for companies to name products and services using the “Temagami” brand name
TEMAGAMI – Temagami council is looking into how much it would cost the municipality to seek legal assistance to move forward with the protection of its name “Temagami” and its logos.
The Municipality of Temagami enjoys recognition as a unique cottage, canoeing and wilderness area and it is becoming common for companies to name products and services using the “Temagami” brand name.
As such, the municipality now feels it is in its best interest to consider seeking protection of the word and its logo as official marks with the understanding that such protection is available to public authorities like a municipality.
Normally geographical names, such as those used by towns, villages and regions, are not available for exclusive use, such as a registered trademark would provide. However, public authorities, such as a municipality, can apply for protection of their name and logo as official marks.
This protection is different from the conventional trademark in that there is no requirement to identify a product line or specific goods or services in the application, and once approval is received, this official mark protection does not have to be renewed.
“When you’re looking at a logo, like Temagami Dry was already an established trademark, but whether it’s an ‘Experience Temagami’ or a new logo is developed if we’re trying to refresh the image, then we would have a logo or a mark that we could provide protection to,” treasurer-administrator Craig Davidson said at the August 6 council meeting.
“Not that I think we should be in the business of buying up a whole bunch of logos, but there is like five or six right now that have been licensed already by different companies for (use by) their business. One that springs to mind is the Temagami Canoe Company does have a copyright on their logo. Anybody that was setting up business in Temagami, or actually anywhere in the world, if they wanted to have Temagami be their brand name, I don’t know how much protection we could actually provide saying that you had to be within the municipal boundary in order to be able to use it because it is a regional name. It’s more looking at trying to protect the image of Temagami that we’re trying to put forward as we work through our strategic plan.”
Protecting the name and official marks would better position the municipality to restrain the use of the official marks or marks that would be so close that they could be mistaken for them.
In this way, while not limiting the use of the name, over time, a Temagami brand could emerge through the use of the official mark and logos.
“Right now I haven’t done any research as to what the cost would be but we all know that lawyers aren’t cheap,” Davidson stressed.
Councillor John Shymko commented that one thing he felt council should keep in mind is that the name Temagami is an Anishinaabemowin phrase and that he didn’t think it would be in their best interest to “put limitations upon another language’s phrase.”
“So just bear in mind that we have people who still speak Anishinaabemowin and we should probably take them into consideration as well before we try to put ownership on that,” he said.
Temagami Mayor Dan O’Mara commented that right now the municipality is just investigating what the logo protection would cost and how it would go forward, “so that’s the intent.”
Councillor Barret Leudke said that he supports the logo protection initiative and that he encourages “the investigation, in the least, just so that we have an idea.”
“I know when you get into trademarking or copywriting a logo and you get into the details of describing the logo, we’ll find through your investigation and as a group and have a report back to council, that it’s pretty complex,” he said.
“It’s more so than just saying it’s a couple of wind-swept trees, to actually cover it and protect (the logo) well, you have to be very detailed and then other logos that are similar, you could be competing with that description. I have some experience in it myself and I’d offer what I know at a later time, but I’ll let the administration do their work. I’m interested in seeing what the costs are to date and what kind of feedback they get when they investigate it.”
Council approved a recommendation to seek the appropriate legal assistance to move forward with the protection of the Temagami name and its logos and further that municipal staff report back to council once details have been finalized along with the cost of the initiative.
Jamie Mountain is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter working from the Temiskaming Speaker.
LJI reporters are funded by the Government of Canada.