Union representing Richmond IKEA workers sued by company

IKEA Canada launches court action over Teamsters Local 213’s use of logo
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 11/18/2013

Teamsters Local 213, the union representing workers in a long-running labour dispute with the IKEA in Richmond, B.C., is being sued by the company for using its logo.

The union represents about 325 workers at the Richmond IKEA who have been out of work since pickets first went up on May 13. Workers have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2012.

In the statement submitted to B.C. Supreme Court, IKEA Canada Limited Partnership claims the union is using the furniture retailer’s logo — protected by copyright — in fliers without the company’s consent.

IKEA sued for trademark and copyright infringement after discovering picketers were handing out fliers containing the store’s logo. The logo can also be found on the union’s Facebook page.

The court action, filed by lawyer Stephanie Gutierrez, states “The defendants knew or ought to have known that the plaintiff owned the copyright in the IKEA logo. The defendants are engaging in copyright infringement with the intention of achieving a collective agreement on terms more favorable to and preferential to the union that could be achieved without illegal acts.”

In its recently filed statement of defense, however, Teamsters Local 213 disagreed. The document cites the Canadian Intellectual Property database, claiming that even if IKEA does own the logo it “lacks originality and/or is not an artist work as defined by the Copyright Act.”

Despite that, Anita Dawson — a business representative for Teamsters 213 — said the union would not be using the logo moving forward until the civil suit is "sorted out."

"This has been a long struggle," Dawson said of the drawn-out labour dispute. "In the IKEA world this is the longest dispute we're aware of."

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