Considerations for Protecting Business Name via Trademark
The only effective method to protect your name and thus the identity of your company is by utilizing the trademark process. You may trademark a number of elements of your company including:
- Company Name
- Product Line Name (Brand Name)
- Domain Name (Website)
Each of these elements requires a separate trademark and if your logo includes your name or slogan it will require two trademarks to protect it. One trademark is required to protect the graphic portion of the logo and one trademark is required to protect the name or slogan portion if these are not already trademarked. Your trademark protects your intellectual property within the boundaries of Canada (Canadian Intellectual Property) for a period of 15 years and can be renewed for additional periods.
Although a registration requires between 12 and 18 months to complete, you get priority protection from the first day after the filing of your application. This makes the timing of your filing critical when it comes to determining who has preference on a contested name.
If you are planning to trademark your business name, there are a number of things to consider prior to registration and, in some cases, even before choosing your name. First and foremost, your name must be unique. Proposed trademarks that conflict with existing trademarks in similar industries will be rejected. To avoid this type of conflict, a unique or made-up word used as the distinctive portion of the name is best. A name like Fitastic Training Centre Ltd utilizes a created word that is less likely to find conflicts during the trademark process.
Next best would be the use of an unusual word or combination of words. For example, Grime Busters Cleaning Service is an unusual combination of words that would have a high probability of being successfully trademarked without conflict.
You must also ensure that the business name to be trademarked is not clearly descriptive. Summer Cottage Rentals would run a substantial risk of being deemed "clearly descriptive", particularly if the service offered was the summer rental of cottages. Clearly descriptive names are not allowed as this would be unfair to other businesses within the industry by not allowing them to describe theirs wares or services. If a name like Fast Delivery Service was allowed to be trademarked, no other delivery service would be able to describe themselves as a fast delivery service.
The heart of any trademark application is the wares and services section. This section, spells out exactly what will be protected by your trademark. Poor construction of your wares and services statements can severely limit the effectiveness of your trademark. Your statements should be as comprehensive as possible yet not too general in nature. You must also consider if the wares and services you include in your trademark application are currently being offered or if they are for proposed usage. You may want to consider purchasing a trademark package that includes the construction of these statements by experienced personnel.
The trademark process, while very detailed and requiring an up to eighteen month commitment, can be critical to the long-term success of your business by ensuring that no one can usurp the name you have spent so much time and money to build. Business Development Centre can assist you by allowing you to effectively file and forget your application. We can prepare and monitor your trademark application throughout the year and half process, allowing you to concentrate on building your business, confident that your trademark is being professionally shepherded through to its completion. Safeguard your intellectual property rights via Trademark Canada.