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Afternoon all.

You'll have to forgive the terse, bellicose tone of this week's instalment, but we've been huddled with the gang from legal and their calculated-to-intimidate $5,000 bespoke Philippe Dubuc power suits.

French Immersion Properties PLC, you see, is in the midst of a very clever and possibly doomed intellectual property law manoeuvre to trademark the word "hockey".

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Seeing as "Habs", "Canadiens" and "NHL" were already taken and all - hey, we want our piece of the licensing pie, fair is fair.

Come to think of it, why content oneself by zealously protecting corporate logos and names, think big we always say. People can get patents for genes and monkeys, so why not strive to own a bunch of words or better yet an entire language?

So we think you'll find that's English™ now, please send your royalties to the usual address.

Hoo-boy, are we ever going to make people like that purveyor of shawarmas on Drummond St. pay through the nose to use this new English-y type doodad of ours.

You know the one.

Good for NHL central for sending in the jackbooted litigate-first-ask-questions-later brigade, we say. Hyper-aggressive copyright and brand protection may well be the UFC's enduring contribution to the sports business (although the NFL and WWE might quibble with that), and thank God.

The owner of Basha's argument was that the banner merely provides the Habs with a little free advertising, and that he shouldn't be on the hook for $89,000 in penalties for using their trademark - hokum. Here's an idea: why not open up an eatery and put a "Basha" sign in the window to give them some free advertising as well?

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The point is there are no winners here people, other than those who own the rights and marks in the first place. And everyone is entitled to vigorously defend the watershed of their revenue streams in these troubled times.

How else, for example, would the Canadiens®, be able to entertain an apparent flirtation with substantial Czech winger Jaromir Jagr (or Jérôme Giguère, as the portly one would swiftly and inevitably become known were he to miraculously snaffle a contract with the CH®).

Big men require big salaries, and the Habs® need to count their pennies to have the cash on hand to bulk up if they hope to contend with the likes of the Bruins™, Leafs™, and, eventually, the Winnipeg Thrash™ and Nordiques™ 2.0.

Which brings us, rather inelegantly, to Régis I, mayor extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Quebec City.

Like the vertically-challenged overlords at the NHL® offices in New York, the tiny perfect Mr. Labeaume is determined to stamp out vexatious litigants who would derail his administration's grandiose plans. And he's not afraid to roll out the heavy artillery to do it.

You'll recall from FIs passim that former city manager Denis de Belleval has threatened to sue in order to stop Quebec City from signing an arena management and naming rights contract with Quebecor®, which he argues is illegal.

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So the mayor is now calling on the National Assembly to pass a special law to enshrine the contract and thus insulate it from legalistic jiggery-pokery.

"We won't be able to conclude (a contract) with our partners if there are threats of a court challenge, and . . . we must, absolutely, absolutely, reassure the National Hockey League® relative to all that," Labeaume told a news conference. "Gary (Bettman) has an extraordinary network and he knows about everything that happens here."

Well that would explain how the league knew to send a legal beagle to pop in on Basha's™ wouldn't it?

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