Satinder Dhillon of Abbotsford has filed a lawsuit alleging Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada has infringed on his trademark and copyright of the same name. (Facebook photo)

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

An Abbotsford man has filed a lawsuit with Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada, claiming the newly formed party has infringed on a trademark he registered in September.

Bernier cut his former ties with the Conservative Party after losing to Andrew Scheer a vote to lead that party into this year’s election. In September, Bernier announced he would be creating a new party: The People’s Party of Canada.

But Abbotsford resident Satinder Singh Dhillon has filed a statement of claim with the Federal Court of Canada to “take back the name ‘People’s Party of Canada,’ ” according to a news release.

RELATED: Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada arrives in the Fraser Valley

“The byelection underway in Burnaby is the first time the other party using our name has put forward a candidate, so it was critical we file for an injunction to show Mr. Bernier and anyone in his party that we are serious,” Dhillon said in a statement. “So far, they have ignored the cease-and-desist letter sent last month by our Chief Agent, Mr. [Emmet] Pierce.”

Dhillon also filed for a judicial review of Elections Canada’s chief elections officer’s decision to approve Bernier’s application to use the name People’s Party of Canada, stating that it is a copyright and trademark infringement.

Because Bernier’s party is running a candidate in the Burnaby South byelection coming on Feb. 25, Dhillon’s lawyer, Dean Davison of Davison Law Group in Vancouver, says “there is some urgency” to getting the judicial review in front of a judge.

“I don’t know how prepared Mr. Bernier or his party is to deal with this quickly. Hopefully they are prepared and we can get into court within weeks or days,” Davison said.

“If not, there is the big election, which really is the main issue. So hopefully as soon as we can.”

Dhillon registered “People’s Party of Canada” as a copyright on Sept. 18, 2018, according to the federal government’s copyright registry. That registration notes the “People’s Party of Canada” name was first published with links to Dhillon on July 1, 2015.

In a July 2015 article in The Times of Canada, a news magazine focusing on the South Asian community, Dhillon said he founded an anti-corruption movement in Canada.

“The PPC (People’s Party of Canada) is not about politics, it is much more than that. It is a movement to inform the citizens about what is really going on in this country,” Dhillon is quoted saying in the article posted online in 2015.

Davison said part of Dhillon’s claim hinges on that 2015 quote.

“At that point he gained some rights just by the usage,” Davison said in an interview with The News.

According to the federal government’s trademark registry, Satinder Dhillon of Abbotsford filed a trademark application for the name “People’s Party of Canada” on Sept. 14, 2018, the same day that Bernier publicly announced his new party.

RELATED: Maverick MP Maxime Bernier launches new party as The People’s Party of Canada

Davison said the timing of the trademark application was an attempt to protect the name after Bernier announced his new party.

“He said to Elections Canada … ‘What could I do to protect my name?’ They said, ‘Go and get a copyright and a trademark.’ So he did,” Davison said.

On Sept. 20, 2018, the trademark was formalized, according to the federal government website.

According to the registry, the “People’s Party of Canada” is trademarked under class 38 (telecommunications), which “includes mainly services allowing at least one person to communicate with another by sensory means.”

In an email statement, Martin Masse, spokesperson for Bernier’s party, said the party is “confident that our party was registered in accordance with the rules and that these lawsuits have no legal basis.”

Dhillon filed the “People’s Party of Canada” name with Elections Canada on Sept. 25, 2018, three weeks before Bernier filed his application, Davison said.

In order to formalize the name of the party, Elections Canada requires at least 250 people to confirm their support in print by mail or in person. Dhillon’s lawsuit claims Bernier’s geographical proximity to the Elections Canada offices in Quebec gave him an advantage to filing his full paperwork.

He also claims that Elections Canada didn’t take into account a postal strike, which began in October, that could have delayed Dhillon’s filings.

“It is also significant that Mr. Bernier’s very public discussion of the party name during his application period concerned some of Mr. Dhillon’s supporters, who did not want to unintentionally sign up as a supporter of the other party. That further slowed Mr. Dhillon’s application and damaged his interests,” Davison said.

Although the claim is that Elections Canada did not take those factors into account, Davison acknowledged that the federal elections agency may have evidence that could contradict that.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Rossland’s farmer’s market is wilting, but organizers hope to spur new growth

12-year-old market considered taking a year off, says manager

Police investigating man’s death in Winlaw

Foul play not established, but major crimes unit is investigating

Rossland Legion supports Skool Aid

Skool Aid assists low-income families in the Lower Columbia

Bilingual child care spaces coming to Castlegar

New daycare opening this summer will teach kids French and English

Motion calls on Rossland city council to recognize ‘climate crisis’

Andy Morel wants to raise awareness of urgent need for action by higher levels of government

VIDEO: Canadian breaks women’s world record for longest plank

Dana Glowacka, of Montreal, held a plank for four hours and 20 minutes

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Kootenay man arrested and charged in 2015 murder

Nathaniel Jessup 32 of Creston has been charged with the second-degree murder of Katherine McAdam and offering an indignity to a body.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

GALLERY: First responders in Fernie return baby owl to its nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Most Read