OTTAWA (Reuters) - An environmental consulting firm sued Canada's opposition Liberal Party on Wednesday for C$8.7 million ($8.6 million) for using the company's Green Shift trademark as a slogan for its carbon-tax plan.
In what they call a Green Shift, the Liberals are proposing to apply C$15 billion in new taxes on fossil fuels to encourage lower carbon emissions and then to cut income taxes by an equivalent amount. Green Shift Inc says use of the name violates its Green Shift trademark.
"I am absolutely outraged that the Liberal Party of Canada thinks it can steamroll over our company and hijack our trademark name with their proposed new environmental tax program," company founder Jennifer Wright said.
"If they take our name they've taken us."
She told a news conference that an aide to Liberal leader Stephane Dion called her just the night before Dion launched the Green Shift tax plan to let her know the Liberals were going to use the name.
The Liberals have set up a website, www.thegreenshift.ca, which is similar to the company's website www.greenshift.ca. The company's trademark has been approved by regulatory authorities though registration is not yet complete, Wright said.
The Liberal Party said it has no plan to change its campaign name.
"The Liberal Party of Canada feels it has acted fully within the law on this matter," Liberal spokesman Daniel Lauzon said on Wednesday.
He said that because the Liberals are not selling any product or service, they are not competing with Green Shift Inc. He added that the words "green shift" have come into widespread use.
Green Shift Inc does environmental assessments and marketing, and it says the Green Shift trademark is used for environmentally conscious products such as biodegradable cups.
Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway