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Advertising & Marketing Law

Advertising & Marketing

When it comes to advertising, marketing and the law, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is important to ensure that your advertising and marketing efforts do not violate any applicable laws before your business invests time and money launching marketing initiatives which could damage your brand's reputation and attract the attention of the various Canadian regulators who police Canadian advertising. Seeking timely legal advice to clear your marketing and advertising campaigns, including contests, before they are launched is a key element of intelligent IP and brand protection.

Our firm assists clients with advertising and marketing law matters, such as advising clients on the Canadian laws governing:

  • The use of trademarks and copyrights in comparative advertising.
  • Misleading advertising.
  • Advertising on the Internet, including keyword advertising, and advertising through social media.
  • Dealing with counterfeit and grey market goods.
  • Ambush marketing.
  • Personality rights in marketing, including on social media.

Promotional Contests

Contests can be a great way to promote your brand and your business. However, there is more to contests than simply giving away prizes. There are a number of Canadian federal and provincial laws, such as the Criminal Code, which govern contests. Further, contests in Quebec have reporting and government fee requirements which are unique in Canada. Failure to adhere to the relevant laws can expose your business and its principals to fines, imprisonment, and public relations nightmares. Adhering to the laws governing contests is part of intelligent IP management and brand protection.

We can help you navigate the various contest laws by:

  • Drafting contest rules, including proactive risk management clauses.
  • Advising whether the prizes in your contest are governed by special rules.
  • Conducting searches to ascertain whether the names and slogans you would like to use for your contest are available for use.
  • Advising on how to collect contestant information in compliance with applicable provincial and federal privacy laws.
  • Specifically excluding Quebec contestants from your contests, or coordinating with Quebec counsel on your behalf to ensure that the various Quebec government requirements for notice, government fees, reporting requirements, and French language materials, are addressed.

Packaging & Labelling

Creative and innovative packaging and labelling are important in marketing a product and building a distinctive brand. It is important, however, that packaging and labelling comply with the relevant Canadian laws. Otherwise, your business runs the risks of potentially significant fines, imprisonment of senior executives and bad publicity. It is also important that the distinctive elements of your product's packaging and labelling, such as copyrights, trademarks, the shape of any containers (which may serve as a distinguishing guise or industrial design) and any inventions relating to packaging and labelling be protected as well as a way to prevent your competitors from co-opting your intellectual property.

Emerging areas, such as the cannabis industry, are subject to specific laws governing packaging and labelling. It is critical to obtain legal advice in such areas to avoid being off-side the applicable laws.

Complying with the relevant Canadian packaging and labelling laws, and protecting your company's packaging and labelling intellectual property are key to intelligent IP management.

Information Management

It is important that brand owners ensure that any information associated with their advertising and marketing campaigns comply with applicable laws to avoid sanctions. Our lawyers can advise your business on various information management marketing issues, such as:

  • Canada's anti-spam laws (CASL).
  • Privacy policies for websites.
  • Canada's "do not call" telemarketing legislation.