Canadian Business News

How Small Businesses Can Protect Their Trademark

A trademark is usually defined as a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks.

“A trademark is not your corporate name, That is the legal name given to the corporation, which is considered a legal person at law. A trademark is not your business name. That is the name under which your corporation carries on business, if different from your corporate name. A trademark is kind of, but also not quite, your brand. A brand is a broad and multi-layered concept that defies definition. A brand is something you know, something you see, something you feel.” Franchise lawyer and registered trademark agent Chad Finkelstein wrote in a Financial Post article.

A trademark is the words or images that are used to distinguish your goods or services manufactured, sold, leased, hired or performed from those manufactured, sold, leased, hired or performed by others. In other words, it is how the public identifies your goods and services, and the quality associated with them, as distinct from others’, he added.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs put all their energy and money into their companies but can sometimes take their trademark for granted, experts said.

Trademarks are powerful assets for all companies, including small businesses. It can even be called the starting point for the legal means by which the brand can be protected.

Trademarks can be useful in all stages of business. For example, a registered trademark is a valuable asset to other parties, such as acquirers of, or investors in, your business. It also provides licensee with confidence about their brand and makes your brand seem strong.

Getting a trademark lawyer to help you with the process of applying and receiving a trademark could be the best way to receive one.

A trademark is much more than a rubber stamp. First, get a trademark lawyer to assist you with searching the CIPO database to get a sense of the likelihood that your trademark can be registered. While it can be painful to hear that the trademark may not be registerable or is likely vulnerable to attack from third parties owning identical or similar marks, making hard re-branding choices at this stage is far easier than several years later when business is humming,” Finkelstein writes.

After the company has applied for a trademark, it could take a period of up to 10 months to get a response. If you get a favourable reply the next stage is a two month window where any other parties can oppose your application. If there are no objections, then the trademark will be registered. There may be some hurdles in the process, but with a good trademark lawyer it can be less complicated.

Having a properly registered trademark can help you in the long run and have your company protected while keeping your rights intact.

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