Mickey’s Restaurants Ltd. is a large firm that operates a chain of 200 roadhouse style restaurant/taverns across Canada under the name of “Mickey’s” and is well known nationally due to its extensive advertising campaigns. Mick Vern recently bought a restaurant/tavern, previously known as “Paddy O’Lanterns” situated in downtown St. Catharines. He formed a company under the name of Mickey V’s Ltd. and renamed the restaurant “Mickey V’s”. The décor and furnishings of Mick’s restaurant are not at all like those of the Mickey’s chain, but the external appearance, franchise colours and sign bears some similarity. Mick plans to franchise the business in Ontario. The president of Mickey’s Restaurants Ltd. is angry because she has been planning to open a franchise store in St. Catharines. She alleges that Mick is attempting to deceive the public, is trading on her company’s reputation, and is benefitting from its advertising. She has written to Mick, insisting that he change the name of his company and his restaurant; otherwise Mickey’s Restaurants will commence legal proceedings. Mick maintains that no one is confused, that he chose the name “Mickey V’s” deliberately to distinguish his restaurants from those of the chain, and that, since neither of the principal owners of Mickey’s Restaurants Ltd. are called Mickey, they are the ones who are trading improperly. Mick comes to you for advice. He also asks if he can patent his grandmother’s recipe for fried chicken (which includes 13 secret herbs and spices) and her recipe for pasta sauce. He intends to sell both from his restaurant but would like patent protection before selling his mother’s inventions to the public.Required: Advise Mick what legal actions might be taken against him and whether or not they might succeed and the likelihood and requirements of obtaining the patents.
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