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Trademark Attorney Working With Clients in Saanich, British Columbia

If you're an entrepreneur, you know that protecting your intellectual property should be high on your list when it comes to safeguarding your company. However, as a successful business owner, you also know the steps and costs of filing a trademark in the U.S. can be expensive and arduous.

This conundrum can be even more overwhelming for new business owners who want to do everything possible to minimize the price of securing trademarks. They try to handle complicated tasks like trademark registration on their own, which can be a big mistake - especially when juggling the day-to-day tasks of running a business. You may be thinking, "But what about those set-it-and-forget-it services you can find online? All you have to do is plug in your info, and you're done." Using pre-made templates for trademark filing can be tempting, but doing so can leave you with inadequate protection and hurt you in the long run.

So, what is the easiest, most cost-effective route to consider that also minimizes legal risk? The truth is, before you spend money on an online filing service, it's best to consult with a trademark attorney working with clients in Saanich, British Columbia.

At Sausser Summers, PC, our experienced trademark attorneys can help you understand the trademark process step by step. We can even help with U.S. trademark filing, U.S. trademark responses, and U.S. trademark renewals at a price you can actually afford. That way, you can make an informed decision regarding your business without having to break the bank.


Sausser Summers, PC: Simplifying the U.S. Trademark Process

Hiring an attorney can be a daunting task, but at Sausser Summers, PC, our goal is to make the process as simple and seamless as possible for you. That's why we offer a straightforward checkout service. First, you choose your flat fee trademark service and fill out a short questionnaire. Then, we will contact you within 24 hours to discuss the details of our service. From there, one of our experienced trademark attorneys will get to work on your behalf.

Using a trademark attorney for filing in Saanich, British Columbia, can significantly increase your chances of a successful registration. The U.S. government recommends hiring a trademark attorney to help with your application, and our team of trademark lawyers is dedicated to meeting your needs. In fact, we help ensure your application is filed correctly the first time so you can get on with your life and avoid legal risks.

At Sausser Summers, PC, we work closely with our clients to understand their needs and provide them with sound professional advice. We never offer incomplete services, such as simply filing for registration, because that would leave you open to legal risks. You can rely on us to handle your intellectual property matters, and our flat fee services can help protect your business in a simple, straightforward, and affordable way. It's really that simple.

In terms of filing a U.S. trademark, we provide an easy three-step process to protect your intellectual property:

1. You provide your trademark info to our team via an online form.

2. Our team performs a comprehensive trademark search. This search ensures that no other marks will prevent you from registering your trademark in the U.S. Once performed, we'll send you a legal opinion letter that details our findings.

3. Sausser Summers, PC, files your U.S. trademark application. We are then listed as your Attorney of Record on file. From there, we'll provide ongoing updates regarding the status of your trademark as it works through the registration process.

The bottom line? At Sausser Summers, PC, we give both new and seasoned business owners an easy, efficient, cost-effective way to protect the one asset that sets them apart from others: their name.

Online Trademark Attorney Saanich, British Columbia
The bottom line?

At Sausser Summers, PC, we give both new and seasoned business owners an easy, efficient, cost-effective way to protect the one asset that sets them apart from others: their name.

Do I Really Need a Trademark Attorney for Protecting My Business in Saanich, British Columbia?

It's not necessary to be a lawyer in order to apply for a trademark. Anyone can submit a trademark application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). However, registering a trademark involves more than just filling out a form. It's essential to conduct thorough research, accurately identify and clearly explain your trademark to ensure it receives adequate protection. And even after securing a trademark, you've got to monitor it consistently to make sure it's free from infringement.

The big takeaway here is that it's always a good idea to work with a trademark attorney to protect the intellectual property that you've worked so hard to establish. According to the Wall Street Journal, applicants are approximately 50% more likely to secure their trademark than people who file applications on their own. If your trademark application is rejected by the USPTO, you will need to revise and refile it, incurring additional filing fees. To avoid delays and extra costs, it is best to have a trademark lawyer help you get it right the first time.

Additional Benefits of Using a Trademark Attorney

Great trademark attorneys (like those you'll find at Sausser Summers, PC) will help with every step of filing and enforcing your trademark. Some additional benefits include the following:

Check to see if your proposed trademark is registered by another entity.

Conduct research to see if another business is using the trademark for which you're applying.

Provide advice and guidance on the strength of your trademark.

Draft and submit your trademark applications and application revisions.

Advice and guidance regarding trademark maintenance and protection.

Monitor the market for unauthorized use of your trademark.

Trademark enforcement to protect you against infringement.

 Online Trademark Lawyer Saanich, British Columbia

Curious whether our trademark attorney services are right for you and your business? Contact Sausser Summer, PC, today. Let's talk about what you need, and how we can help.

What About Online Filing Services?

Online services, can provide you with basic assistance in filing your trademark. However, they will never be a legitimate substitute for an experienced trademark attorney helping clients in Saanich, British Columbia.

 Trademark Attorney Saanich, British Columbia

Although online filing services offer a step-by-step process, they take a one-size-fits-all approach to preparing legal documents. Even their advanced service only provides basic attorney assistance in completing your paperwork and helping with minor roadblocks. Online filing services' disclaimer highlights the many limitations of its services, including the fact that communications are not protected by attorney-client privilege. In addition, online filing services cannot provide advice, explanations, opinions, recommendations, or any kind of legal guidance on possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms or strategies.

In other words, online filing services can offer you the necessary forms and point you in the right direction, but they cannot customize their services to your specific needs or help you with serious complications that may arise.

For the most comprehensive trademark service and protection, it's always wise to work with highly rated trademark lawyers, like you'll find at Sausser Summers, PC.

Understanding Trademarks Over Time

Trademarks in the U.S. can last indefinitely, but did you know that clients in Saanich, British Columbia can file a trademark online, only to lose protection in some circumstances? Trademarks differ from patents and copyrights in that they do not have an expiration date. However, to prevent the cancellation of a trademark, you must maintain it. To ensure that your trademark remains protected, you must actively use it in commerce and renew it with the USPTO every ten years.

The Lanham Act tells us that "use in commerce" is the legitimate use of a trademark in the ordinary course of trade. In other words, you cannot register a trademark solely to reserve the rights to it in the future. In most cases, a trademark must be used continuously in connection with the goods or services it is registered for.

 Trademark Law Firm Saanich, British Columbia

Steps to Renew Your Trademark

Trademarks are registered with the USPTO and generally need to be renewed every ten years. However, there is one crucial exception that you should be aware of. Within the first ten years of owning a trademark, you must file for renewal between the fifth and sixth year from the date of your initial registration.

During this renewal period, you are required to submit a Section 8 declaration, a specimen that shows how the mark is being used, and pay the required fee. You can also apply for Section 15 Incontestability status, which can strengthen your trademark rights. This application, although not mandatory, can make it harder for others to challenge your ownership of the mark.

After the first renewal, which falls between the fifth and sixth year of ownership, the next renewal filing is due between the ninth and tenth year, and then every tenth year thereafter. In the ninth year you will need to file a Section 8 declaration, attesting to your use of the mark or excusable nonuse. You've also got to file a Section 9 renewal application before the end of the tenth year to keep your registration active.

It is worth noting that the USPTO provides a six-month grace period if you fail to renew your mark within the required time frame, but it is best not to rely on it. If you don't file within the grace period time limits, the USPTO will cancel and expire your mark.

By hiring trademark attorneys helping clients in Saanich, British Columbia, you can avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that can arise and cause you to lose your rights to the mark that represents it.

Losing Your Trademark Rights Through Abandonment

In the event that you stop using your trademark and have no plans to resume using it in commerce, it may be considered abandoned by the USPTO. This could result in the loss of your protective rights to the mark. Typically, a trademark is assumed to be abandoned if it has not been used for three years. However, you may be able to refute this presumption by providing evidence that you intend to use the mark again in the future.

Losing Your Trademark Rights Through Inappropriate Licensing

In addition to trademark abandonment, you should also be wary of improper licensing. It's important to remember that once you allow someone else to use your trademark, you must keep an eye on how they use it. You should monitor the products or services that feature your trademark to ensure that they meet consumers' expectations in terms of quality. Failure to do so can lead to a "naked" trademark license and the loss of your protective trademark rights.

How to Avoid Having to Refile Your Trademark

If you're wondering how you can avoid refiling your trademark, the answer is simple: file it correctly the first time around. Filing a trademark isn't inherently difficult, but when doing so, it's very important that certain aspects are filled out accurately in your application. If any information is missing or incorrect, the trademark application may be considered "void ab initio" or void from the beginning, requiring you to file again.

To avoid this, make sure that the information you provide in the application is accurate and complete, including the ownership of the trademark. For instance, if a corporation has multiple shareholders, it should not file under the President's personal name. The rightful owner should be the one/entity that ultimately controls the trademark and the associated goods/services.

It is also important to ensure that the goods and/or services description is precise. For example, if you sell electronic products, you should not file for research and development services despite having a research and development department. The goods/services description should reflect the goods/services you offer to customers, not the departments within your business.

Additionally, providing accurate dates of first use when filing for a trademark is crucial. The USPTO requires two dates to be specified - the date of first use anywhere and the date of first use in interstate commerce. Contact our trademark law office today to learn more about having accurate dates on your filing paperwork.

 Trademark Lawyer Saanich, British Columbia
 Trademark Firm Saanich, British Columbia

What Makes an Online Trademark Attorney Great?

At Sausser Summers, PC, we often get questions about how to distinguish run-of-the-mill consultants and others from great trademark attorneys. After all - when you're looking for an attorney to file or prosecute your business trademark, you should know their qualifications. Here are three ways you can separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff when it comes to trademark attorneys.

It's crucial to seek legal advice from a licensed trademark lawyer rather than relying on advice from non-professionals like trademark consultants. The USPTO even recommends hiring an attorney to help with the trademark process. Although trademark consultants may provide advice on trademark availability or name marketability, they cannot file the trademark for you or offer legal advice. According to the Rules of Practicing in trademark cases, "Individuals who are not attorneys are not recognized to practice before the Office in trademark matters." This rule applies to individuals who assist trademark applicants.

When searching for a trademark attorney, it's important to find someone with a strong background in trademark law. Look for an attorney who specializes in this area and has significant experience handling trademark-related cases. Avoid lawyers who don't have expertise in this field, as they may not be able to provide the guidance and support you need.

Ensure your attorney provides updates throughout the trademark registration process to avoid missing deadlines, including responding to any Office actions within six months. Failure to do so can result in trademark abandonment. The USPTO will only correspond with the listed attorney of record, so make sure your attorney keeps you informed.

In summary:

  • Be sure you're using a licensed trademark attorney helping clients in Saanich, British Columbia.
  • It's best to work with a trademark lawyer who has years of experience filing trademarks.
  • Ensure that your trademark lawyer is willing to provide ongoing notifications relating to your trademark application process.
 Trademark Registration Lawyer Saanich, British Columbia

Trademark Attorneys Working Hard for You

Building your brand and gaining recognition for it is a significant achievement, and it's important to protect it. However, there are certain pitfalls and mistakes that can arise, causing you to lose your rights to the mark that represents it. By working with knowledgeable trademark attorneys, you can avoid these issues and file your trademark successfully.

With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Sausser Summers, PC, offers comprehensive guidance, strategic advice, and reliable representation for a variety of trademark matters. Our attorneys have years of real-world experience and, having registered countless trademarks with the USPTO, provide our clients with individualized representation when they need it most.

If you're looking for skilled, adept, and experienced counsel, look no further than our trademark law firm. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can help you safeguard your brand.

Latest News in Saanich, British Columbia

‘I had to come see him’: Emerson the elephant seal spotted in Saanich, B.C.

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Global News Hour at 6 BC: April 28






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A popular and beloved elephant seal has landed in Saanich, B.C., on Vancouver Island.

Two-year-old Emerson has made his way onto a beach in Saanich to moult, which means he will be grounded for roughly five weeks to shed his skin.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is aware of his presence and warning community members to not get too close to the wild animal.

“I thought it was an April Fool’s joke,” said Paul Cottrell with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“We’ve seen him multiple times … we saw him last June and even in September. We’ve relocated him (before) because he is a big animal and now he is huge.”

It’s not a rare sight for Fisheries and Oceans officials to see elephant seals moulting in B.C. at this time of year, and in fact, it is becoming much more common, Cottrell said.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

“We’re getting more animals influx from further south. We get lots of moulting elephant seals every year and more of them every year,” he said.

“It really is a full-time job to keep them safe and the public safe.”

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has a B.C. seal team, which focuses on keeping interactions between seals and the public at a minimum.

“(There can be) issues with dogs off leash, small kids … if they get too close, they can get hurt,” Cottrell said.

“With Emerson, we are going to put up some fencing around him so he has a clear path to the water and people don’t get too close.”

The seal team will also be putting up signage and caution tape.

“We just want him to do his thing and move on but if we have to relocate him, we have the capacity,” Cottrell said.

5:03 Wildlife spring cleaning

Global News spoke with some community members who were watching Emerson closely.

“All the residents are so excited about the seal and I can’t believe how docile he is,“ Rahanna Vu said.

“As soon as I got on my break and I had to come see him down here.”

Of course, the celebrity seal is a favourite with kids in the community.

“Yesterday, I came here because my sister saw him. I came and stayed for an hour or two to watch him,” Preston Archibald said.

“He is very cute.”

Emerson’s personality is “welcoming,” according to Cottrell, because he was raised by volunteers in the U.S. after his mother left him at a park, but he still warns to give Emerson space so he can “do his thing.”

B.C. might be Canada’s best place to watch rare solar eclipse

Clouds a concern as moon set to block the sun starting a little after 8 a.m. Oct. 14, Pacific timeWestern British Columbia will be the best place in Canada to view a rare annular solar eclipse set to happen Saturday, but cloudy skies could obscure the phenomenon for many viewers.An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and sun, and because it happens when the sun is at its farthest point from Earth, viewers are treated to a bright halo surrounding the black blot of the moon.Areas of North Am...

Clouds a concern as moon set to block the sun starting a little after 8 a.m. Oct. 14, Pacific time

Western British Columbia will be the best place in Canada to view a rare annular solar eclipse set to happen Saturday, but cloudy skies could obscure the phenomenon for many viewers.

An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and sun, and because it happens when the sun is at its farthest point from Earth, viewers are treated to a bright halo surrounding the black blot of the moon.

Areas of North America that will see the total eclipse and fiery ring include a path from Oregon to Texas, but a statement from the University of British Columbia says Metro Vancouver residents will be able to see nearly 75 per cent of the eclipse beginning at 8:08 a.m. Pacific time.

The statement says the event will peak 72 minutes later when just a small sliver of the sun will be visible and the eclipse will end at about 10:38 a.m.

In part because of the potential for serious eye damage from looking directly at the sun, the University of British Columbia and Surrey-based Kwantlen Polytechnic University are holding viewing events and offering telescopes and special glasses so amateur astronomers can safely watch the eclipse.

But bad weather could complicate those plans, with Environment Canada calling for clouds and showers for much of the south coast on Saturday.

UBC will cancel its viewing party if clouds move in, but Kwantlen says its event will continue indoors with a livestream, although scientists at both universities are hoping for a break in the weather.

“A partial solar eclipse is one of nature’s great shows, and it’s free,” UBC physics and astronomy professor Douglas Scott says in the statement.

Laura Flinn, a physics instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic, says the eclipse is an excellent way to spark a child’s interest in astronomy.

“This is an event that a large section of North America will be able to see,” Flinn says in a statement from KPU. “It’s a significant astronomical phenomenon that will give children a sense of how big the universe is.”

The last partial eclipse was visible across Metro Vancouver in August 2017, and Flinn says between two and five eclipses occur around the world each year, but only those along the path of an eclipse are able to see it.

The next complete annular eclipse over southern British Columbia won’t happen until Aug. 4, 2111, says Flinn.

Central and Eastern Canada won’t have long to wait for their peak at a solar eclipse.

The next one will happen on April 8, 2024, and will be viewable over parts of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Saanich, B.C., looks to reduce parking requirements for new housing

Saanich, B.C., is looking to change parking requirement for new builds in an effort to increase green space and make housing more affordable.Single-family homes, two-family dwellings, and attached housing in the district municipality — which is located just north of Victoria — are required to have a minimum of two parking spots per unit, while apartments require 1.5 spaces per unit.Saanich council approved a motion Monday directing staff to work on an interim zoning bylaw amendment so new developments with fewer tha...

Saanich, B.C., is looking to change parking requirement for new builds in an effort to increase green space and make housing more affordable.

Single-family homes, two-family dwellings, and attached housing in the district municipality — which is located just north of Victoria — are required to have a minimum of two parking spots per unit, while apartments require 1.5 spaces per unit.

Saanich council approved a motion Monday directing staff to work on an interim zoning bylaw amendment so new developments with fewer than 12 units will require a minimum of one stall per unit.

For new developments with more than 12 units, current minimums will switch to maximums. Apartment developments would be allowed at most 1.5 spots per unit.

Coun. Zac de Vries, who put forward the motion with Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, described current parking requirements as "outdated," resulting in the loss of green space.

"When you require a development to build a certain amount of parking, they obviously need to make space for that," de Vries said.

He said council has received many applications for developments that do not meet minimum parking requirements, which have to go through a special approval process. Council often approves these requests, he said, so changing the requirements will result in streamlining the development process.

He says he hopes the change will create more affordable housing options.

"The more parking we build, the more expensive housing becomes," de Vries said. "This is an opportunity to make housing more affordable."

Luke Mari with Victoria-based Aryze Developments says current parking requirements are disconnected with the reality of car ownership.

"[Council is] really just getting in line with the demographic and culture shift away from car ownership," Mari said.

He said those who need parking can still choose housing with parking options. The new bylaw, he says, will allow developers to create buildings for people who live car-free.

An amended bylaw, he says, will allow developers to spend less time in council chambers and more time building housing.

"These new policies ... will definitely result in housing getting delivered quicker," Mari said.

De Vries says the interim policy change will be followed by substantial research to determine further steps.

Russian billionaire is behind mansion that housed Harry and Meghan, leaked files show

It's been an international enigma for the last two years: Who really owns the lavish Vancouver Island estate where Prince Harry and Meghan wintered in 2020 as they reportedly hashed out their plan to step back from official royal duties?Is it the Russian-born billionaire who several media outlets...

It's been an international enigma for the last two years: Who really owns the lavish Vancouver Island estate where Prince Harry and Meghan wintered in 2020 as they reportedly hashed out their plan to step back from official royal duties?

Is it the Russian-born billionaire who several media outlets linked to the property? Is it Canadian mining magnate Frank Giustra, as (erroneously) reported by the New York Post's Page Six?

CBC and Radio-Canada found the answer, and it does indeed involve a Russian, but it wasn't easy — it took an international leak of tax-haven data, access to a company's internal records and intense research. All that, experts say, shows once again just how opaque Canada is when it comes to assets like real estate and who owns it.

"It is very easy for criminals around the world to be laundering their dirty money in Canada and buying real estate," said Kevin Comeau, a lawyer and financial transparency expert. "And we have no way of knowing who they are or [the] ability to chase their money. "

From B.C. to Caribbean to Channel Islands

There is no suggestion of criminality surrounding the Mille Fleurs mansion in North Saanich, about 30 kilometres up the island from Victoria. But it certainly shields its owner well.

For starters, unlike with most properties in B.C., you can't find it in the provincial land registry.

That's because the mansion isn't registered as a single property, but is part of a stretch of oceanfront land on the Saanich Peninsula owned by a corporation called the Towner Bay Country Club. Each homeowner on the land has shares in the country club corresponding to their lot.

The club's records are not public. But CBC/Radio-Canada was able to review an internal spreadsheet that tracks club owners' property tax. It lists a British Virgin Islands company called JEMC Management as the owner of Mille Fleurs.

Corporate records in the British Virgin Islands don't disclose a company's shareholders. So the ownership trail would normally stop cold here, but for a stroke of luck: The Pandora Papers — the huge cache of leaked tax-haven records obtained by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and shared with CBC/Radio-Canada — shows that JEMC Management is owned by another company, registered in the Bahamas, called Orland Properties.

Orland, in turn, is owned by a trust called the Andromeda Trust, formed under the laws of the Bailiwick of Jersey, a tiny tax haven off the coast of France. The trustee is a company whose sole officer lives in Cyprus.

But whose money is behind that?

The Andromeda connection

Two years ago, as speculation about who was really hosting Harry and Meghan hit fever pitch, a name that kept emerging was billionaire venture capitalist Yuri Milner, arguably the highest-profile Russian-born investor in Silicon Valley.

Milner is reported to spend time with celebrities on a superyacht — a boat also called Andromeda — and he knows Canadian music producer David Foster, whose wife knows Meghan Markle from their school days.

Foster, a 16-time Grammy winner, even gave an interview to Britain's Daily Mail about the mansion in 2020, where he said he's been friends with the mansion owner for years. The music producer said that, although Milner wasn't the owner, he had helped Milner rent the house "about five or six years ago… for a short time."

Milner-run investment funds took early positions in Facebook and Twitter before those companies went public, stakes that generated mega profits. But as journalists revealed in 2017, about half the capital for his firm's investments in Twitter came from VTB Bank, the No. 2 bank in Russia, which is majority-owned by the state.

"It's probably one of the two banks that fund most connected government officials and oligarchs," said Jamison Firestone, who practised business law in Moscow for nearly two decades and has become a leading figure in the global campaign against Russian state corruption. He called VTB "a slush fund" for the Russian government.

Milner's Facebook play, meanwhile, was partly seeded with money from a company that had itself obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in loans from a subsidiary of the Russian state energy company Gazprom, the same media investigation showed. An oligarch named Alisher Usmanov ran the Gazprom subsidiary and eventually obtained a stake in Milner's Facebook investment.

Milner has said he was just doing business, seeking funders and making investments. While VTB Bank and Gazprom are under sanctions in Canada, the U.S. and the EU, that didn't start until 2014 — three years after he raised the money.

A spokesperson for Milner told CBC that the VTB funding was paid back that year, and that Milner has not raised capital from Russian investors since 2011. Usmanov was only added to Canada's sanction list this March. Milner has never been sanctioned, and isn't generally considered to be an oligarch.

Milner's about-face

In early April, CBC asked Milner whether he directly or indirectly owns the estate where the royals spent Christmas and New Year's in 2019-2020.

The reply came from Alice McGillion of New York-based reputation management firm Rubenstein: "We can officially confirm, as we have consistently done [in] the past, that neither Yuri Milner nor any family member nor any entity affiliated with him or his family owns Mille Fleurs mansion on Vancouver Island or any other property in Canada." McGillion referred CBC to the interview given by music producer Foster.

However, documents found by CBC News in the Pandora Papers leak reveal that the Andromeda Trust — the Jersey-constituted entity atop the chain of offshore companies leading down to the Mille Fleurs property — didn't always go by that name.

Until February 2016, it was called the Yury Milner Trust (variations in the English spelling of Russian names are common).

A letter written by a lawyer for Milner in 2018, found in the leak, explains the trust's origins: "The person who contributed the assets," it says, "was Yury Milner."

The letter continues, "The potential beneficiaries of the Andromeda Trust include charities, relatives and friends of Yury Milner."

Another record says that before 2015, "Yury Milner exercised control over" a series of companies including JEMC Management, which bought the Mille Fleurs mansion.

CBC News went back to Milner with these findings. The response this time was quite different.

McGillion sent another statement, asking that it be attributed to an unnamed "trust spokesperson."

The statement admitted that Milner's trust, funded by him, bought the mansion in 2013. It acknowledged that, in fact, Milner himself was a beneficiary of the trust at the time. And it reiterated that Prince Harry and Meghan's stay was arranged by David Foster.

The statement explained this all by saying, however, that Milner and his wife decided in 2013 to pledge to give away the majority of their wealth to charity. The next year, Milner had himself removed as a beneficiary of the trust he'd created, in favour of newly formed charitable foundations that the statement didn't name. In 2018, all his relatives were also removed as possible beneficiaries, the statement adds.

He is therefore no longer "affiliated with" the mansion, the statement said.

It also confirmed that Milner has a similar trust arrangement for the 107-metre superyacht Andromeda — a vessel he has until now denied owning, but has a knack for being spotted partying and vacationing on. The statement said he is not "affiliated" with the yacht, either.

Firestone, the former Moscow lawyer, said it's a legal distinction without much of a difference.

"If you have the exclusive use of something, you basically have all the benefits of owning it without having to be legally owning it," he said. "So yes, he may not be the owner, but he may very well be the ultimate beneficiary, which is basically the same thing for all this stuff."

WATCH | CBC traces mansion's ownership

2 years ago

Duration 7:00

A CBC investigation traces the ownership of Mille Fleurs, a lavish Vancouver Island mansion where Meghan and Prince Harry wintered in 2020, revealing ties to Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and murky laws that experts say make Canada a target for money laundering.

'We don't have the tools right now'

The mystery of the Vancouver Island mansion shows how thorny it can be to find out who really owns property in Canada, which can make it immensely difficult to confront the scourge of money laundering in Canadian real estate, or to confiscate the riches of Russian oligarchs, transparency expert Comeau said.

"We don't have the tools right now in order to be finding, let alone seizing, those assets. You can't seize them until you identify them and connect them back to those Russian oligarchs."

In a Canadian first, B.C. enacted a public transparency database for property that's supposed to be fully operational in November.

Meanwhile, the federal and provincial governments have been in discussions since 2019 on setting up registries to track the real owners behind corporate entities like companies and partnerships. Justin Trudeau's Liberals originally promised it by 2025, but amid the fresh urgency of the unprecedented sanctions against Russia and a number of oligarchs, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland promised in her budget speech last week to bump that up to 2023, at least for federally incorporated companies.

Responding to a question from Radio-Canada last week, Freeland said that while it will be difficult to also get every province to agree to adopt what's known as beneficial ownership transparency for provincially registered corporations, it is "really important" for democracy and the economy.

"My hope is that we are in a moment where there is a real national consensus," she said. "We need to know what money is flowing into assets in Canada."


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