Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Canadian Mint to make a mint from IP?

I find this funny.

"David Miller, the mayor of Toronto, wants Canada’s federal government to share some of its national sales tax with cities. But all that his campaign has generated so far is a 47,680 Canadian dollar ($48,972) invoice from the federal mint.

Apparently, the mint not only makes the money in Canada, it owns the intellectual property rights, as well.

Mr. Miller wants the equivalent of one cent from the 6 percent goods and services tax, (or G.S.T. as it is commonly known). To inaugurate the campaign, Toronto began handing out posters, bumper stickers and buttons, most of which bear the slogan, “One Cent of the G.S.T. NOW,” with a photo of a Canadian penny.

In Ottawa, the intellectual property office of the Royal Canadian Mint soon told city officials that they needed permission to use the penny’s image. The invoice followed shortly afterward...

The mint acknowledges that it has no trademark rights to the words “one cent.” (Though the musician Curtis Jackson has registered his stage name, 50 Cent, in Canada.) The design of the penny, however, is copyrighted."

A spokesman for the Mint said the invoice was based on what an advertising agency would have charged the city for the campaign (they didn't use an agency, just their own employees) and that “We have to protect our property from abuse”

Howard Knoff has some sensible commentary, as you would expect.

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