In today’s information and technology age, trademarks are becoming increasingly valuable business assets. Trademarks help you succeed in the business world. How do they do this? They help people notice and differentiate your products and services from those of your competitors. 

Oftentimes, the trademark registration process can be confusing and difficult to maneuver around. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of trademarks including what they are, why they’re important, as well as the registration process.

What is a Trademark?

According to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), a trademark is a “sign or combination of signs used or proposed to be used by a person to distinguish their goods or services from those of others.” At first, trademarks simply represent the goods or services that a business provides; however, over time, trademarks have the potential to carry the reputation of a business. Therefore, they are valuable and worth thinking about if your business doesn’t have one already. 

There are two main types of trademarks:

  1. Ordinary Trademark
    • This includes words, designs, tastes, textures, moving images, mode of packaging, holograms, sounds, scents, three-dimensional shapes, colours, or a combination of these.
    • A business must use the above mentioned examples to differentiate its goods and/or services from others.
  2. Certification Mark
    • Individuals or businesses can use certification marks to prove that their goods and/or services meet a defined standard.

How Long Does it Last?

Upon successful registration, you will have the sole right to use your trademark for 10 years in Canada. Afterwards, you’ll be able to renew your trademark every 10 years. Be sure to keep your certificate of registration as proof of ownership.

Why is it Important?

As previously mentioned, a registered trademark is one strategy to protect your reputation and corporate image. Trademark licenses are therefore an effective tool to maximize brand exposure and revenue through use of a trademark by entities other than the trademark owner. If not done right, however, such licenses can also be disastrous if the respective rights of the parties are not clear and properly set out. As a result, it can in fact lead to potentially the loss of trademark rights and/or costly and time consuming litigation. Thus, it may be in your best interest to seek legal counsel when dealing with the trademark licensing process. 

What is the Registration Process?

To register your trademark, you can do so with the CIPO. The following steps will guide you through the overall process:

  1. Complete the application using proper representation and/or description.
  2. Pay the required fee.
  3. A trademark examiner will review your application. The examiner will determine whether your application has met the requirements for registration. For example, they will make sure that it won’t be confused with other registrations.
  4. If your application is approved, it will be published in the Trademarks Journal. Now, the the public can challenge or oppose it.
  5. If no one challenges or opposes it, your trademark will be successfully registered.

At Sodagar & Company, we recognize that the protection of your trademarks is an integral part of your business. As such, we can assist in the drafting of trademark licensing agreements. Our goal is to ensure that your objectives are met and control over the use of your trademark maintained.

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