A trademark registration is the easiest and most cost-effective way to protect a name or logo in Canada. Yet for so many companies, trademark registration falls to the bottom of the list of priorities, for when business takes off or there’s a little more money in the bank.
I’m here to tell you – don’t wait. File an application. You can do it yourself if you have to. Just do it early in your business planning. A trademark application filed before you even begin using a name will protect your right to use that name over others who would have a similar intention.
There are so many reasons that trademark registration is part of a successful business plan. I’ve set out below my top 4 reasons to register a trademark in Canada. If only one of these reasons speaks to you, I will consider my work here to be done.
Exclusive Rights Across Canada
First, a Canadian trademark registration will grant you the exclusive right to use the mark throughout all of Canada. This is especially beneficial to start-ups which tend to be very localized in the beginning. If, for example, you start selling a line of skin care products at a local market or pop-up shop in your community, without a registration or pending application, it would be very difficult for you to prevent the same name being used on a similar product in another city. You have no enforceable rights outside of the limited area where your products are sold. You may not care in the beginning, and you don’t want to waste resources on filing a trademark application. But will you care about that confusing name when your product takes off, you start selling it over the Internet and retailers across Canada want to carry it? A trademark registration expands your rights across Canada, including to markets where you don’t currently have a presence.
Obstacle for Later Marks
Second, a trademark registration serves as notice to others of your rights. This is important when companies are searching to determine the availability of a mark for their own use or they have filed an application to register a mark. The trademarks register is an important database of prior marks, and you want your registration or application to come up in a trademark search as an obstacle for later confusing marks.
Speaking of which, did you search the trademarks register before you started using your own name?
Basis of United States Registration
Third, a Canadian trademark registration can serve as the basis of an application to register your trademark in the United States. Most Canadian businesses plan to eventually sell products and services in the bigger American market. Your Canadian registration will enable you to obtain a United States trademark registration even before you start actively marketing in that country.
Proof of Ownership for Online Trademark Disputes
Fourth, a Canadian trademark registration will help you enforce your rights online. Google will stop a third party from using a registered trademark in AdWords text, and most of the social media platforms and online marketplaces require you to establish your ownership of a mark to report a complaint of infringement. A trademark registration is easy proof of the ownership of a mark.
Considering all these benefits, you may be surprised to learn that a Canadian trademark registration costs less than $500, if you file and prosecute the application yourself. A trademark agent will cost a bit more, but they will take care of the entire process for you and ensure that your registration protects your business in the broadest possible terms.
So now that you know a few of the benefits of trademark registration, what are you waiting for?
In the comments below tell me what obstacles are standing in your way to registering your business name as a Canadian trademark.