December 16, 2010 / 11:10 PM / in 7 years

Wal-Mart and union reach settlement over website

TORONTO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores and Canada’s biggest private-sector union have reached a settlement in their year and a half-long trademark dispute.

Wal-Mart filed a motion in a Quebec court in June 2009 claiming trademark infringement by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) on a website aimed at Wal-Mart employees.

The motion noted among other things, the website’s logo was similar to the retailer’s circular yellow “spark” logo. The company also objected to the site using the name www.walmartworkerscanada.ca.

Both sides declined to discuss details of the settlement, which was reached late on Wednesday, but on Thursday the website no longer displayed the yellow logo.

Unchanged on the site were other elements listed in Wal-Mart’s motion, including the similar color scheme, the use of the word “Walmart” and a play on its advertising slogan.

Wal-Mart said it was satisfied that the deal addressed its trademark concerns, while the union called it a “huge victory” for Wal-Mart employees’ right to free speech.

Wal-Mart and the Canadian union have had an acrimonious history. In November 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada backed Wal-Mart’s right to close a store where workers sought to unionize, but added that such closures might require the company to compensate workers.

Earlier this fall, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled the UFCW properly won union certification for a Wal-Mart store in Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

The three labor agreements in place in Canada are the only ones for Wal-Mart workers in North America, said UFCW representative, Michael Forman.

Reporting by Solarina Ho; editing by Rob Wilson

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