Did you buy a poppy online? It may be one of hundreds of unauthorized products


Red poppies from the Royal Canadian Legion are a widespread sight at shops and on lapels throughout Canada main as much as Remembrance Day. 

Also widespread this time of 12 months? Poppy products bought on-line that aren’t approved by the legion.

It is a rising drawback for the group, which has registered the trademark of the poppy picture.

“It is extraordinarily irritating,” mentioned Nujma Bond, a nationwide spokesperson for the legion. “It occurs yearly at about this time the place we get a lot of fraudulent web sites and folks arising with numerous poppy-related products.”

Royal Canadian Legion nationwide spokesperson Nujma Bond mentioned the group is seeing a spike in unauthorized poppy products on the market this 12 months. (Brian Morris/CBC)

Those products vary from brooches to clothes, even cookies and doughnuts, says Bond. 

This 12 months, she says the legion has seen virtually triple the quantity of unauthorized products in comparison with 2021. 

“We’ve obtained near 1,600 violations and people are those that we all know of,” mentioned Bond, including she’s unsure what’s behind the spike. 

Poppy trademark 

The legion’s web site notes that the group has trademarked the picture of the poppy to “safeguard” it as a image of remembrance.

According to the positioning, the remembrance poppy can not be used “on client gadgets resembling products, attire, artwork, or commemorative gadgets or their packaging,” with out authorization.

Bond mentioned whereas some retailers may have good intentions and need to donate half of their proceeds to the legion, that is not at all times the case. 

“I really feel as whether it is an insult to those that have served, who’re serving and have died for our nation,” mentioned Mike Turner. He served within the navy for eight years and now helps arrange the poppy marketing campaign at a Royal Canadian Legion department in Toronto. 

Mike Turner, who served within the Canadian Armed Forces and is now with the Royal Canadian Legion in Toronto, says he feels disrespected when he sees unauthorized poppy products on the market on-line. (Hugo Levesque/CBC)

“If that merchandise is being bought for private acquire or private revenue, then it isn’t going again to supporting the veterans or supporting the troops or supporting the individuals who may now and again want some assist.”

Turner mentioned whereas not all veterans need assistance, some are coping with PTSD, whereas others may not have a residence or sufficient meals to eat. 

“What is misplaced is the funds which have the power to vary some of these individuals’s lives”

Bond mentioned when the legion finds a product that’s unauthorized typically the retailer will take it down, however that course of can be difficult if the vendor is abroad. 

A screenshot of poppy products accessible on the market on Amazon.ca from Nov. 5. The on-line retailer mentioned it has ‘eliminated products that allegedly infringe the Royal Canadian Legion’s poppy logos.’ (Amazon.ca)

Online poppy products 

CBC News discovered dozens of poppy products that seem to infringe the legion’s trademark on the Canadian websites of Etsy, eBay and Amazon. 

Etsy didn’t reply to CBC’s request for remark. 

A spokesperson for eBay, Leslie Walsh, mentioned the corporate is reaching out to the legion to tell it about a program to assist take away copyrighted gadgets.

“With enter from the Royal Canadian Legion, we are able to transfer rapidly to take away such listings.”

An Amazon spokesperson responded to CBC through electronic mail, saying Amazon respects the mental property rights of others.

“In this case, we now have eliminated products that allegedly infringe the Royal Canadian Legion’s poppy logos and apologize for any misery this has brought on them.”

People place poppies on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the National War Memorial following the National Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa, on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. The legion mentioned anybody who needs to make use of the poppy ought to seek the advice of with the group first. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Trademark proprietor should police use 

When it involves defending a trademark, regulation professor Florian Martin-Bariteau mentioned it is as much as the proprietor to “police the use.”

Martin-Bariteau, who teaches on the University of Ottawa and is a fellow at Harvard University, mentioned on-line retailers like Amazon have “no legal responsibility” if they’re appearing as an mediator, that means the product is being bought by a third-party. 

WATCH | Legion has a trademark on remembrance poppy: 

Royal Canadian Legion fights again towards unauthorized poppy gross sales

The Royal Canadian Legion is pushing again towards unauthorized poppy gross sales, which have been popping up on huge on-line websites like Amazon and Etsy. The legion owns the poppy picture trademark, with its gross sales serving to veterans and their households.

“They do not should do something to manage what’s bought on the platform.”

Once the net retailer is notified of a trademark infringement, he mentioned it ought to take away the product in a “well timed method.” 

For those that do need to create poppy associated products, the legion’s Bond mentioned it’s best to contact the group first. 

“We will help them and decide whether or not or not it’s a product that we might assist.”


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