Scotiabank Settles Trademark Lawsuit With Toronto Festival Founders

by T+B Blog Team on May 24, 2014

The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) has agreed to a settlement with Caribana Arts Group over its alleged infringement of the trademark of a Toronto festival that the local community organization founded in 1967 but no longer runs, The Toronto Star reports. The financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The founders of the arts event launched an $800,000 lawsuit against the bank and the newly-created Festival Management Committee (FMC) in 2011. The organization insisted that the bank and FMC were not allowed to use its trademark for the event, which they named and advertised as the “Scotiabank Caribana Festival.”

The group had asked the new festival organizers to stop using its name for the popular celebration a few times, with then-chair Henry Gomez even handing a cease-and-desist order to the FMC chair Joe Halstead at an event at the Royal Ontario Museum. Soon after the founders filed the lawsuit against the bank and the FMC, the festival was officially renamed the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto in May 2011, following an order by the Ontario Superior Court.

The lawsuit was one of the most difficult decisions the organization has ever made, the group’s chair Knia Singh told the newspaper last week. This was partly due to the fact that the suit included founder Charles Roach, who died in 2012.

The 47-year-old Caribbean festival attracts more than one million people to the streets of Toronto every summer. The carnival was founded in 1967 and according to a study by Ryerson University, it generated $438 million for the local economy in 2009.

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