On Monday, the federal government announced a $150,000 fine against a Vancouver band for using the name “The Tragically Hip” without permission.
The Hip’s lawyers say the band, which they declined to name, violated trademark law by using the word in the name of a band without permission and also that the use of the band’s name is “likely to cause a substantial likelihood of confusion.”
The band also argued the fine amounts to nothing more than an “insult” to their fans and that they “stand by the decision to trademark the Tragically and continue to pursue a viable and profitable record label.”
The government’s ruling came after the band issued a statement to CBC News in which it said “the use of a mark in a way that is not registered by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) and does not directly and clearly identify the mark owner is a breach of the trademark rights of the owner.”
The ruling, from the Copyright Office, found that the band “used the mark without permission, without authority and without authority’s permission” to describe itself as “the Hip” and that “the Tragically has been a mark holder of the name ‘the Hip’ for over a decade.”
The decision also found the band had used “the mark without the requisite authorization,” which means that it “would have been likely to cause confusion” and “is likely to create a substantial risk of infringement.”CBC News spoke to a lawyer representing the Hip, but he declined to comment.
The ruling also found that “there is a reasonable likelihood that confusion would arise in the marketplace as a result of the use” of the mark.
It is unclear what the impact the ruling will have on the band or its record label, which is expected to appeal the decision.