Should You Register A Trademark?

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a word, a symbol, a design, a slogan or the combination of these elements which represent at the same time the products, the services and the reputation of your company.

Also, it is likely that your company already has a trademark, even if you have never registered it. Perhaps embroider an animal on each of your brand’s garments (such as Ralph Lauren polo shirts), a logo to distinguish your in-house products from those of your suppliers (such as President’s Choice ), or a slogan that you use to make an impression in your advertisements (“Just do it” from Nike).

People who know and appreciate what your business offers will naturally look for these signs when making a future purchase. Intellectual property rights give you some protection, but it is not complete. Should you register this trademark to better cover your back?

Benefits

1) Exclusivity

The first advantage is the right to use this brand exclusively. First in Canada, but today, thanks to recent commercial agreements, it is also easier to have your brand recognized in dozens of countries.

If you haven’t registered your trademark, that doesn’t mean anyone can take your image (or a very similar one) to sell junk. But in the event of such a dispute, the burden of proof rests with you. Registration will make your job easier and provide you with security.

A registered trademark will also be considered by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority to retrieve a domain name. She might also give you clout for the same kind of situation on social media.

It is possible to register a mark six months before the start of its commercial use. This gives you time to buy the right domains for your website and set up your social media accounts before someone gets the idea to grab them.

2) Value

A strong (and registered) brand adds value to your business. Perhaps consumers are unaware of the existence of the company “Les vis Pierre et Filles”, but many swear by “Vis Magnum” for their renovations.

The fact that your brand is recognized has an interest in the eyes of potential buyers or when you seek financing from bankers or investors.

In addition, you could profit from it through licensing or franchising agreements. Your factory may not be equipped to make Magnum Nails, Magnum Screwdrivers, or Magnum Bolts, but other entrepreneurs may want to take advantage of your brand’s marketing power in exchange for an amount of money.

3) Distinction

Your trademark allows you to distinguish yourself from your competitors and ensures that you… do not copy others!
When you want to file a trademark, you will necessarily do a search for those that exist in your sector. Thus, you will have to make the effort to create an original brand. This is true for those who will follow. They will see your trademark and have to find something else. In any case, the registrars refuse trademarks that are too similar and that could confuse the consumer.

The disadvantages

1) It takes time

Registering a trademark is a long process with several steps. Between the filing of the request, the verification by the authorities, the report, the response, the announcement, the possibility of opposition, there are weeks, even months that will pass.

2) It costs money

The costs for filing the case run into the hundreds of dollars, but you have to plan for related fees. You may wish to pay consultants or lawyers to help you with this process. It is also possible that disputes will force you to go to court if you are serious about your brand.

3) Do it again

The protection only lasts for a time and you will have to renew the mark. It’s not very complicated, but you have to think about it and do it.

Also, if certain trade agreements facilitate the deployment of your brand in other countries, this is not automatic. And some nations have not signed these agreements. You will therefore have to submit to this gymnastics for each new bureaucracy encountered.

Registering a trademark, for or against? If your brand is part of your marketing and expansion strategy, go for it. On the other hand, if your business does not depend on it and every minute and every dollar counts, you can take the time to properly assess the cost and the benefits.

Eleanore Frinqois

Eleanore Frinqois, Lead Editor at BusinessGrowthCoaching.co.uk is a business leader with over 30 years in both start-up and enterprise level organisations. Previously Operations Directer at a £1.8BN media group, alongside setting-up and later selling 3 digital brands - Eleanore has expertise across all aspects of business growth.

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