Resident assigns 'Haliburton' trademark to county
By Chad Ingram
Published August 3, 2017
The Minden man who successfully trademarked the word “Haliburton” for commercial purposes has assigned the trademark to the County of Haliburton.
As reported earlier, it came up at a county council meeting last week that a local resident had applied and been approved for the word mark trademark “Haliburton” for a host of commercial goods, including but not limited to athletic apparel, casual clothing, sweatshirts, caps, children's clothing, pillows, cushions, sports bags, cooler bags, blankets, towels and beach toys.
The application was approved by the federal government through the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development in February of this year.
Councillors were upset, Minden Hills Reeve and County Warden Brent Devolin pointing out that, under legislation, the names geographical locations from which goods and services are supposed to be exempt from trademarking.
Since the federal government seemed unwilling to correct what appeared to be an error, councillors made it clear that legal options were on the table.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 3, county chief administrative officer Mike Rutter confirmed the county had received a letter from trademark holder Michael Stinson, irrevocably transferring all rights to and future interests in the trademark to the County of Haliburton, and also offering to undergo the process of having the trademark expunged from the record, if county council so wishes.
“I have been aware since yesterday that there have been negotiations between the chamber of commerce and Mr. Stinson,” Devolin told the paper Wednesday.
Both Devolin and Rutter credited chamber representatives for their work in resolving the situation. The issue came to the county's attention through the chamber, which had apparently received comments from member business owners about the trademark holder.
“It's a good outcome,” Devolin said.
However, the fact the trademark was approved in the first place is still problematic, Devolin said, adding he'll continue to seek clarification and advocate for strengthening of policy through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Eastern Ontario Wardens' Caucus.
Hopefully, Devolin said, a similar situation can be avoided in other communities.
“Everything has been blown way out of proportion about T-shirts,” Stinson wrote in a statement he sent to the paper. “Key Haliburton officials have made untrue statements about me. It’s an unfortunate defamation of character. It’s untrue that I’m harassing stores to buy from me. It’s untrue that stores must pay me to use the name Haliburton. It’s untrue the chamber has been receiving complaints about me. Businesses still continue to purchase products from me and have no issues doing so. I am a resident of Haliburton County and I successfully trademarked the name Haliburton.
“I always wanted to put Haliburton on the map with the cooperation of the county. I guess I have done it now.It’s unfortunate that people jumped to conclusions and it all started from rumours.
I’m optimistic that this will be resolved very quickly and in the best interests of our community.”
Chamber of commerce president Richard Wannan told the paper while some member business owners had been concerned about the trademarking itself, business owners were never asked to pay any kind of royalty.
“Every one of those individuals said he never asked for royalties,” Wannan said. Wannan said the chamber was happy to be part of resolving the situation.
Stinson sells merchandise through his business, The Haliburton Store.