Skip to main content

Red Deer Planet Fitness wins court case against U.S. corporation

A Red Deer gym battling a U.S. corporation over its name has won a significant court case.

The local gym owner calls his victory against the American Planet Fitness a win for small businesses.

"We've been going through a war, a battle, with the American brand," owner Shawn Freeborn told CTV News Edmonton.

He opened his gym in 1991.

In 2017, Freeborn became aware the other Planet Fitness – a large American chain with more than 2,400 locations worldwide – planned to expand into Alberta.

He filed a statement of opposition to the registration of the trademark Planet Fitness by the American company, challenging its right to use the name in Alberta.

"They told me, straight out, that I would never win," Freeborn said.

Nearly six years later, Canada's Trademarks Opposition Board has ruled in his favour.

"I can't even tell you how good it feels today to actually have been heard," Freeborn said.

In court documents, the board stated Freeborn was the first to use the Planet Fitness name and that the two trademarks are "identical in appearance and in sound."

"The Red Deer company used it first and therefore you're not allowed to use that mark, so their registration of the mark failed," Cameron Hutchison, a University of Alberta law professor, said.

Hutchison said Freeborn has two options: Register the Planet Fitness trademark or sue the American company.

"Consumers are confused and they've basically stolen the goodwill of the Red Deer company by using their trademark or using their trade name."

When asked if the American company knew of the Red Deer gym when it launched in Canada in 2014, the lawyer said it was aware.

Freeborn has also filed a federal court case against the American franchise.

"I will not stop until my dying breath. This is our company. This is my family."

In a statement to CTV News Edmonton, the American Planet Fitness said: "As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on pending litigation." Top Stories

Stay Connected