How To Protect Your Brand - Is Trademark Registration Right For You?
Most businesses have spent considerable time and money building their brand. When the public comes to recognize and trust your brand you must be pro-active in protecting it from imposters who are looking to profit off of the hard work and trust that your company has earned. However, trademark registration can be expensive and is not always required. This article highlights when you should or shouldn't bother with TM registration.
It is always advisable that you register your trade-marks, but this costs time and money. You will need to decide whether the benefits of registration outweigh the costs. Here are some initial questions to help you with your decision:
- First, do you have a small, personal business that is confined to one geographic area?
- Is your business closely associated with you personally? Here, we are talking about sole proprietorship, small incorporated businesses and other smaller-scale organizations.
Answering yes to these questions may mean that registering your trademark may offer less benefit to your business.
However, you should also ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you plan to invest a substantial amount of money in packaging, signage or marketing my product or service?
- Do you plan to expand my business beyond one location?
- Do you believe that your business would be hurt if someone else adopted a similar or confusing name anywhere in Canada?
- Do you intend to franchise or have ‘partners’ using the same name (e.g. multiple chapters of a charity)
- Would it cost you a substantial amount of money or lost reputation to be forced to change your business name later?
If you answered yes to any of these, you may want to consider the many benefits of registration.
Trademarks are more important than ever in the internet age, and that requires businesses and organizations to be more proactive about protecting their brand.
Registering a trade-mark is a complicated and time-consuming process. That’s why the Intellectual Property Office recommends hiring a registered agent. A good trademark agent will support you every step of the way. And if you’re planning to register your mark in other countries such as the, it is strongly advised that you hire an agent because it can make foreign registration a lot easier and less expensive in the long run.
Hiring a trade-mark agent will:
- Save you time — A good trade-mark agent will monitor all government correspondences, ensuring you provide timely and correct responses to the Intellectual Property Office, leaving you time to run your business.
- Save you money — Weak applications will be rejected and you’ll have to re-pay all the registration fees when you re-apply. If you’ve already started using your trademark, you’ll have to create new branded supplies like stationary, websites and business cards. A good trademark agent will make sure your application is strong from the get-go.
- Save you trouble — Weak trade-marks leave you vulnerable to legal issues such as “cease and desist” letters and court action. A good trade-mark agent will help you to do it once, and to do it right.
The experts at The Trademark Shop ([stupid boring link removed by moderator]) offer free consultations by phone to help you figure out if you really need a trademark or not. We are also experts when it comes to selecting a strong brand that will make for a strong trademark.