A trademark is a word, phrase, design, symbol, or other mark that identifies the owner of a good or service. Corporations that use trademarks to promote their products can stop others from using the same mark for similar services. A corporation does not need to register a trademark to use it. Trademark rights attach the moment an original mark is used in commerce to identify goods or services. In this article, we will look at the implications and importance of protecting your trademark.
A corporation owns a trademark the moment it starts using the mark in commerce. One of the requirements to do so is that the trademark should be original and distinctive. In fact, the more original a trademark is, the greater protection it will receive. If a corporation relies only on this common-law protection, then its rights to the mark extend only to the geographic area where the mark is used. Thus, it is in the corporation’s best interest to distribute the good or service widely. When a trademark is used online, the geographic limitation is usually less severe since the mark is widely accessible.
For start-ups and small businesses, it is always recommended to develop a strategy to protect their intellectual property early on. Failure to do so can be negatively reflected on your brand as the business grows. Investing in a copyright lawyer who can help guide you through the legal processes of registering and protecting your brand will save you money and time in the long run. A strong IP strategy allows business to protect their brand and compete in the commerce market. Therefore, it is always wise to consult a trademark lawyer for help with the process.
There are many ways in which registering your trademark early on can be beneficial for your brand. First and foremost, it gives you the legal right to prevent anyone else from using your trademark, or a mark similar to yours. It can also provide a strong defense against claims made by other business who have either been using a trademark like or similar to yours in the past thus giving trademark owners a legal right to enforce their brand against infringers that may damage its reputation.
While in Canada provincial courts can have a certain impact on trademark rights, there is no separate system of provincial trademark protection that has been put in place.
Federal trademark registration provides great protection for a corporation. Corporations and others who are considering applying for federal applications should seek professional advice from an intellectual property lawyer. On top of providing consultations and guidance for choosing your trademark,
IP lawyers are also experts with the legal proceedings relating to trademark registration,
The corporation must police the mark by checking periodically to see if someone else is using it in a similar way. If someone is, the trademark owner must file cease-and-desist letters. The corporation should also use the mark continuously and discourage others from using the trademark as an ordinary verb or noun, which would cause the trademark to become generic.
Registering a trademark offers your business far greater legal rights than simply relying on common-law trademark protection. Taking the time to do it can be worthwhile in the long run. If your competitor is using your trademark or even has a logo similar to yours, it can have a harmful impact on your brand. Hiring an intellectual property lawyer and consulting them on legal matters pertaining to registering your trademark is the first step every business should take in order to protect their brand.