Trademarks for Your Business

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TRADEMARKS

Protect your business by registering proprietary
names as trademarks.

If you want to protect the unique name of your business,
website or domain name, logo, product or service
name, or company slogan, you may wish to apply for a
trademark.

What Is a Trademark?

According to the Canadian Intellectual Property
Office:

“A trademark is a combination of letters, words, sounds
or designs that distinguishes one company’s goods or
services from those of others in the marketplace. A
trademark is unique. It is important to a company
because over time, a trademark comes to stand not only
for the actual goods and services you sell, but also for
your company’s reputation and brand.”

There are three types of trademark registrations available
to protect your business name:

  1. A logo trademark: protects the design element that
    identifies the goods or services of a business or an
    individual. For example, an apple with a bite out of
    it immediately brings Apple computers to mind. A
    logo is protected by its unique artistic and layout
    elements.

    A word trademark: is words used without any
    artistic design. (The artistic use of words is protected
    by copyright.) Company names, business
    names, names of organizations, product names,
    names of individuals, names of TV and radio
    shows can be registered. Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom-
    Zoom” is an identifiable phrase protected by
    trademark. Coca Cola is protected by trademark,
    both regarding the name itself, and the Spencerian
    script in which it is written. (This iconic logo was
    created by the company’s treasurer and secretary,
    Frank M. Robinson.)

  2. If your business name: is important as an identifier
    to your product or service you can protect it
    by registering. If you do not register your name
    someone else can use it and force you to change
    your business name. If such were the case you
    would have to change everything in your business
    that contains the words registered by another
    party. There is no protection offered by placing a
    (™) beside the name.
  3. Your Website domain name: can also be trademark
    registered. It should be noted that registering
    the domain name with an Internet registration
    authority does not provide any protection or right
    to use the domain name commercially in Canada.
Registration of a trademark can
take 12 to 18 months.

Registration Takes Time

The registration process can take anywhere from 12 to
18 months. But, once you register your trademark, it:

  1. is irrefutable proof that the trademark belongs to
    you
  2. provides you with exclusive rights to use the trademark
    in Canada for 15 years
  3. provides comfort that others cannot use a similar
    confusing trademark
  4. allows monitoring of infringements by others
  5. allows you to license the trademark and provide a
    boost to your company brand
  6. should be noted that, if you need to protect your
    trademark in other countries, it will be necessary
    to register the trademark in each country in which
    you wish protection

Trademarks are good for 15 years in Canada. The
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (the Canadian
registry for trademarks) sends a notice when the
15-year period is about to expire. If the renewal application
and payment are not received, the trademark
is expunged. This means effectively that someone else
could adopt your original logo.

Who Knew?

Interestingly, a trademarked name can become so
entrenched in our culture that they become generic.
For instance the following words are all trademarked
but are used in our everyday conversations: Aspirin,
Band-Aid, Jeep, Kleenex, Lycra, Popsicle, Taser, Vaseline,
Velcro, Zipper.

It May Be Worth Your While

Because of the time, effort, expertise and cost required
to register a trademark, owner-managers wishing to
register a trademark should seek counsel. The Internet
lists organizations willing to assist for a fee.

 

Disclaimer

The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not take into account your personal situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from accounting and financial professionals. Allan Madan and Madan Chartered Accountant will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.

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