When it comes to making your mark in the business world, one of the most important (and challenging!) factors for entrepreneurs is cultivating assets that help to distinguish and develop your brand. Standing out from the crowd helps to ensure the longevity and profitability of your company. Without brand recognition, your products can fade away quickly, replaced by eager competitors and leaving you struggling to catch up. Trademarks play a crucial role in helping businesses protect the creative assets that are used to identify their brand, and ensure that other companies cannot use them for their own gain. Learn more about the basics of trademarking below!
What Is A Trademark
The Government of Canada defines a trademark as “a combination of letters, words, sounds, or designs that distinguishes one company’s goods or services from those of others in the marketplace.” As your brand develops, trademarks become synonymous not only with your products and services, but also with the reputation and quality of your company. Because trademarks are tied so closely to your public perception, they are one of the most important pieces of intellectual property you can own.
Trademarks typically fall into two different categories:
An ordinary trademark applies to words, designs, flavours or tastes, colours, textures, scents, moving images, 3D shapes, methods of packaging or holograms, that are used to distinguish your products or services from competitors.
Certification marks can be licensed to multiple people or companies, and are used to show that certain goods or services comply with a defined standard.
Trademarking any of the above items protects you against competitors using your specific assets for profit, as well as creative theft, fraud, and more.
What A Trademark Is Not
When wading into the world of Intellectual Property Law, it can be easy to get confused by the many different options available. It’s important to note that the following are not the same as a trademark:
- Industrial designs
- Integrated circuit topographies
A Quick Note On Trade Name Vs Trademark
Another common area of confusion is the distinction between trade names and trademarks. Simply put, a trade name is the name of your business which can be registered through the provincial or federal corporate registry, and trademarks can only be registered federally under the Trademarks Act only if it is used to identify goods or services.
Commonly Asked Questions
At Paperclip Law, we proudly partner with businesses and startups all throughout Vancouver to assist with their corporate (and personal) legal needs. As fellow entrepreneurs, we know how much you have on the go, and strive to provide your business with access to the legal knowledge you need when it counts most. A brief overview of some of our most commonly asked questions are:
Can I Trademark My Logo?
Yes! Logos are used to distinguish your products from competitors and are important to trademark early on.
How Much Does A Trademark Cost?
In addition to the legal fees, filing for a trademark registration costs $250 online or $300 for other methods of submission. An additional $200 is required upon the acceptance of your application for certification.
What Information Do I Need?
Applications include a wide array of details, including contact information, a representation or description of the trademark, and more. Working with a legal team is one of the best ways to ensure you have all the necessary information included, as well as filed properly.
How Long Does It Take?
Because each application is subject to an extremely thorough review, the acceptance process can be up to a year, if not slightly longer. Ensuring that all information in your application is accurate, detailed, and up to date can help expedite the process.
Ready To Get Started?
If you’re ready to take the next step and get started trademarking your assets, Paperclip Law is here to help. Contact us now to learn more!