CSA Claims to own the Letters “C,” “S,” and “A.”

July 30th, 2013

On July 18th, CSA filed an Amended Claim against P.S. Knight Co. Ltd. for alleged violations of their trade-marks.  What trade marks?  Well, in 2008 CSA registered as a trade-mark the word “CSA.”  That means that no other entities are permitted to sell products labelled as “CSA” products without CSA’s permission.  But CSA’s interesting interpretation of trade-mark law goes one step further.  CSA believes that no other entities can use the letters “C,” “S,” and “A” together, as “CSA,” even to identify CSA in an article, without their say-so.

In their amended claim about RestoreCSA.com, CSA complains that their “trade-mark is featured prominently and repeatedly on the banner of the website, in the domain URL, and in the specific content of numerous pages.”  And again; “the Plaintiff’s CSA trade-marks are used throughout the RestoreCSA website.” They’re referring to articles on our website which mention CSA.  Its the use of the term “CSA” which upsets them.  In CSA’s view, we aren’t allowed to talk about CSA without their permission. 

Their views are at least consistent.  RestoreCSA was launched in response to CSA’s belief that they own the rule of law and anybody who refers to the law owes CSA a royalty payment.  Apparently they own letters of the alphabet too. 

Among CSA’s latest demands, the Defendants are required “to deliver-up or destroy under oath any wares, packages, labels and advertising materials in their possession or control […]” which contain the word “CSA.”  All of the Electrical Code Simplified books produced by “the Defendants” contain the word “CSA.”  Its unavoidable, CSA facilitates the electrical code which is the subject of these books.  So we are to destroy all of our inventory to comply with CSA trade-marks. 

Yet in their 1969 Letter of Authorization, CSA stated that they “must insist that any reference to the Canadian Electrical Code” be properly noted as “an exact quotation from the Code.”  Further, P.S. Knight products are required to clearly indicate “recognition of the source” of the Code.  The source is CSA. 

To summarize, we must clearly attribute “CSA” in our products.  Yet we are absolutely not allowed to clearly attribute “CSA” in our products. 

And it gets worse.  In 1989 CSA registered as a trade-mark the word “CEC,” the acronym for the Canadian Electrical Code.  But in their July 2013 filing CSA describes our writing of “CSA” in reference to CSA as an “infringement” of their trade-mark.  As the law is consistent, so interpretation of the trade-marks “CSA” and “CEC” must also be consistent.  So apparently we can’t use the term “CEC” either.

In consequence, the CEC that CSA “insists” that we properly attribute must not be properly attributed.

In addition to wanting the courts to order P.S. Knight to destroy all of its products, the CSA would also like the court to “transfer ownership and all rights of access, administration and control for and over the [RestoreCSA] domain names.”  And CSA wants the court to “direct the applicable Registrar to transfer ownership and all rights of access, administration and control for and over these domain names to [CSA].”  And they also want piles of money.  And perpetual happiness.  And a pony.

What about other companies?  A few weeks ago the National Post did a front page story on RestoreCSA.  In that article the letters “C,” “S,” and “A” were utilized in their conjunction as “CSA” repeatedly and without the authorization of CSA.  Does CSA expect the courts to “transfer ownership and all rights of access, administration and control” of the National Post newspaper to CSA?  How about CBC?  They used the trade-marked word “CSA” several times in their Power & Politics segment about us. 

As with most things at CSA, their claims for control over words and people’s use of letters of the alphabet are not especially well thought through.  RestoreCSA has elsewhere described CSA management as “slapdash.”  The description fits.  Legitimate corporations don’t tolerate such blundering about.  Only in an artificial environment like CSA, cloistered and protected from the real world, is conduct such as we’ve witnessed considered normal and acceptable.

RestoreCSA is committed to a total recovery of the CSA organization as a competent regulator in service to the Canadian public.