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My name is Cynthia, and I’m a Canadian lawyer and trademark agent with Mason Professional Corporation and Markably.ca. We’re in this time of physical and social distancing, and in response, a lot of businesses are moving their products and services online. And so I thought, what better time than now to have a little discussion about how to protect your brand online? So I wanted to share with you a couple of really easy and inexpensive strategies that you can use to protect your brands online.

The first one is to register your trademarks. A trademark registration gives you the best bang for your dollar in terms of protecting your brand across Canada. It’s proof that you own that brand, and it’s easy proof that you can use in any online forum to ask that forum to take down infringing content. And the unfortunate reality is in Canada, it’s taking about two to two and a half years from filing a trademark application before you get a registration. So it’s not a significant investment upfront in terms of time or dollars. And once you file, you can basically sit back and let the process take care of itself.

Strategy number two is to keep an eye on the marketplace. The last thing you need is some copycat out there using your exact brand or something that’s very similar, and there’s a lot of components to your brand. It’s not just your name and your logo, but it could be taglines. Copycats also look really like to use content, your marketing content on their own websites and in social media. And so keep an eye on what’s happening out there. And if you see somebody that is moving in on your territory, take quick action. And if you were there first, you own that content and you own those trademarks, and you have the right to ask them to stop or to require them to stop.

And so tip number three is the easiest, and it is free. It’s to use your trademarks consistently. Don’t be shortening the words, abbreviating them, making them plural when they shouldn’t be, and use your logos consistently in a consistent set of colors. The whole point of consistency is so that consumers can connect your trademark with your products or services. And the stronger that connection is, the easier it is for them to find your products and services amongst everybody else’s. And the other great thing about a strong connection also strengthens your legal rights and your ability to stop others from moving in on your territory.

If you have any questions or if you want some help in registering your trademarks, first of all, check out Markably.ca. It’s really an inexpensive way to get your rights on the trademarks register. Or if you have any questions about your advertising and your marketing, you want a little bit of advice about how to optimize the use of your trademarks and whether you’re doing it right, or you could do something a little bit differently, just send me a message. I’m happy to jump on a telephone call or a video conference and walk you through these strategies and to find maybe additional strategies that would be helpful for your business.

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