Nov 29, 2016
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​Canadian mall gets into legal battle over rights to 'Fashion Santa'

Nov 29, 2016

A not-so-jolly legal battle is brewing between a Toronto mall and its holiday Santa. In 2014, Yorkdale Mall made headlines around the world by ditching the conventional older, rounder, Santa Clause for a young, well-dressed, ‘Fashion Santa’.

Fifty-three-year-old Paul Mason has played the slimmed-down and toned-up version of Saint Nick for the mall for the past two years but was replaced this year by a younger, more chiseled model named Adam Martin. Mason has taken the case to court, claiming that ‘Fashion Santa’ is his intellectual property.

Paul Mason, the original 'Fashion Santa' - Courtesy Yorkdale

The Fashion Santa campaign featured Mason in a slim-cut red velvet suits and motorcycle jackets instead of the traditional Saint Nick wardrobe. Mason would also have daily sittings at the mall, in mall Santa tradition, where kids and adults alike could come and take a photo with the slick Santa. The campaign went viral, making headlines as far away as Japan and Dubai.

Yorkdale Mall recently underwent a $331 million renovation that focused on bringing luxury stores like Chanel, Gucci, Canada Goose, Holt Renfrew, Nordstrom, Michael Kors, and Versace to the mall. To help promote the expansion, Fashion Santa was decked out in the newest clothes from various luxury retailers around the mall. 

The new 'Fashion Santa, replacing Paul Mason - Courtesy Yorkdale

The mall, located in the North West end of the city of Toronto, is claiming that they can hire anyone for the part and that Mason never answered calls to reprise the role. Mason denies these claims.

Both parties have filed for the trademark of Fashion Santa. According to government records, Yorkdale Mall was the first to file the trademark application, on December 8th, 2015. Mason filed less than two weeks later on December 22nd, 2015. Neither application has been registered as of now.

Since Mason filed after Yorkdale, it would be up to Mason to oppose the trademark. Mason has stated he will oppose the trademark, and the case is expected to head to court.

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