Labour & Employment Law Blog

Federal Court Says That the Use of Meta Tags is Not an Infringement of Trademark or Copyright

Zeilikman Law

Zeilikman Law

Case Summary

Have you ever heard of a “meta tag”? You may not have if you are not a professional website developer. A meta tag is small piece of code in a website that can enable a search engine or web browser to identify a particular site. You cannot see a meta tag simply by looking at a website online. However, sometimes the meta tag can be used by competing businesses to try to gain an advantage over the other resulting in litigation. This happened in Red Label Vacations Inc. v. 411 Travel Buys Limited, 2015 FC 19.

The plaintiff, Red Label Vacations Inc. (“Red Label”) is a travel business that offers online travel deals through its website redtag.ca. Red Label had registered various trademarks related to its business.

The defendant, 411 Travel Buys Limited (“411 Travel”) is a direct competitor to Red Label and also offers online travel deals through its website. However, to gain a competitive edge, it also used meta tags that consisted of Red Label’s registered trademarks.

When 411 Travel refused to remove those meta tags, Red Label brought an action and sued 411 Travel alleging copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and the torts of passing off and depreciation of goodwill.

What did the court say? The court decided that there was no copyright infringement because there was little evidence of any sufficient degree of skill or judgment in creating these meta tags as required by case law or for the originality required in compiling data or other compilations.

Red Label also alleged trademark infringement under the Trademarks Act. The court held that an infringement of another’s trademark must have been “used” by the defendant in connection with wares or services. The term “use” is defined by the Trademarks Act. The court decided that there was no “use” and therefore no infringement.


This case is being appealed. However, as it sits now, the use of meta tags will not attract liability for copyright or trademark infringement. This case addressed important issues that in the past have received very little judicial consideration. It will be interesting to see if the American position – where liability may exist if a business uses a trademark of a competitor to gain an advantage and attract customers – will gain any ground here in Canada.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.