As a business law firm that has worked with countless startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses over the past decade, we witnessed several common mistakes made by clients when it comes to protecting their brand.
We want to share the top 4 misconceptions about trademark protection that may be preventing you from taking the right course of action.
1. “It’s too early to trademark my brand....”
Uber. Facebook. Google. AirBnb. Stripe. Firefox.
Aside from being the biggest brands today, they all share one other common trait - Every one of them filed for a trademark either before or shortly after they launched their business.
Now why did they do that?
It’s because they believed that one day the value generated by their business will far outweigh the cost to protect the blood, sweat and tears they invested in the brand. With that belief, they took decisive action to protect their brand early on.
From the date that your trademark application is filed, you have first priority over anyone else in Canada that tries to register the same or similar mark in association with your products and services.
2. “I can register my trademark cheaper if I do it myself…”
To be frank, beware of cheap "DIY" online trademark services.
These websites are NOT law firms, and simply file your application with Canadian Intellectual Property Office using only the exact information you provide. They can not provide any legal advice or correct any errors in your application.
Most of these applications may receive office actions in which applicants are unable to respond adequately, resulting in refusals and expensive legal fees to fix.
A trademark lawyer is able to provide valuable insight, skills and experience to help you successfully navigate through the trademark process, which can be complex and lengthy.
Your brand is the most valuable asset in your business. Avoid cutting corners by filing yourself because any missteps with your trademark registration can come back and hurt your business.
3. “The chances of someone infringing on my brand is low…”
As many business owners shift their business models to the online marketplace due to the pandemic, it has become more crucial that companies keep a watchful eye on their brands.
Here are some cold hard facts according to the latest Compumark report:
- 85% of brands experienced trademark infringement in the past year, showing a steady upward trend from 81% in 2018 and 74% in 2017
- Top 3 consequences of infringement are customer confusion (45%), loss of revenue (38%) and damage to brand reputation (37%)
- Three quarters of trademark infringements also led to litigation, with 40% of organizations spending between $50,000 – $249,999 on legal proceedings
- 46% of respondents had to rebrand as a result of infringement, an exercise which can be costly for brands.
You can see that the probability for trademark infringement is extremely high and will continue to be an issue for both existing and emerging brands.
As your business grows and gains reputation amongst your competitors and the general public, is it worth the risk of leaving your brand exposed and unprotected in the marketplace without a trademark?
4. “I’ve already incorporated my business name so my brand is already protected…”
Now oftentimes when individuals and companies incorporate their name, they think that it's the same as getting a trademark.
This is false.
Having your company name reserved in the BC Registry only really means your corporate entity has rights to that name. And perhaps you could prevent another company from incorporating with the same name.
However, incorporating your company name DOES NOT legally protect your brand!
Another company with a different name or a numbered company can potentially use similar branding on their websites, on their storefront, etc., and there's not really a whole lot you could do about it, especially if you don't have market exposure in the area where the other company is operating out of.
To legally own and protect your intellectual property rights, you need to move forward with a trademark registration.
Be vigilant in protecting your intellectual property assets
Don’t choose to neglect your brand and wait until something bad happens.
The only way to truly protect the value of a brand is through a registered trademark. Place it as a top priority for your business and apply for a trademark as soon as you can.
With Patrola Law’s all-inclusive Canada Trademark Registration package, we offer 3 unique benefits that you won’t get anywhere else:
- 3 or 6 month interest-free payment plans.
- Free 2nd trademark search and filing, if the first search shows significant conflicts with the chosen name
- Up to 3 responses to Examiner's Reports - no matter how long it takes to do the work, you don't pay any additional fees. Note: This is normally where legal fees add up for those who don't have a flat fee package.
If you have any questions regarding the trademark process, give us a call at (778) 565-4700 and one of our trademark lawyers will gladly help guide you in the right direction.
The preceding content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please contact our offices directly.