The Royal Canadian Legion has once again enforced its trademark over the poppy symbol, asking a moderator on the website Reddit to remove the image or ask formal permission to post a poppy display picture for Remembrance Day.
A thread posted to Reddit entitled "Why the poppy is gone from the header of r/canada" says a legion representative sent an email reminding the moderator the poppy is a trademarked symbol, and that it's a legal violation to post it without permission.
While we appreciate the group wanting to use the Poppy to promote Remembrance, we want you to be aware that the Poppy symbol is a registered trademark and requires permission for use. We welcome the chance to work with your subreddit to help raise awareness of Remembrance.
The Legion's poppy design has been a protected, registered trademark since 1948. It also holds a newer registered trademark for the symbol with the colours red and black, and a trademark on the word "poppy" itself.
In 2004, Cory Doctorow published a post at his blog Boing Boing about his friend in British Columbia, who was told to remove the word "poppy" from the name of a custom hat she had crafted to sell.
More recently, the Royal Canadian Legion has threatened to sue anti-war groups offering white poppies during Remembrance Day season in Prince Edward Island and Ontario. In 2010, a spokesperson told CTV the groups should hand out doves instead, to stay away from copyright infringement.
Last year, the legion refused to support a group in Fredericton that was raising money with knitted poppies, pointing to its trademark ownership of the symbol, according to CTV. However, the issue was likely complicated — and the legion's response perhaps muted — because the group said it planned to hand its donations to the legion.
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