There are ten really important questions to know the answers to first before working with trademarks. This is important know-how for those new entrepreneurs looking to secure their logo, and or business concept, as their own. The ten questions to be asked are:
(1) What is a trademark?
(2) The difference between a unregistered and registered trademark?
(3) The importance of registering a trademark
(4) Is it necessary to employ a trademark agent?
(5) How to register a trademark?
(6) Does registration protect product rights in different countries?
(7) The difference between a trademark and a trade name
(8) Can you register a personal name as a trademark?
(9) The steps involved in registering a trademark
(10) Allowing other parties to use the registered trademark
(1) What is a trademark? A trademark is either a combination of a symbol, design, or word, which is used to distinguish the goods/services of one individual or company from goods/services offered by other individuals or organization in the marketplace. There are three basic types of trademarks:
+Ordinary Marks: Often are words and or symbols that sets apart one firms product and services from another competing or similar firm
+Certification Marks: These display whether or not the product in question has met certain standards by a governing company
+Distinguishing guise: This identifies any unique shape or packaging of the product.
It is important to remember that the Trademark office in a particular country does not play the role as trademark enforcer. It is wise to monitor the marketplace to ensure that there are no infringing parties. Registration of a trademark is valid for a period up to 15 years, in which it is to be renewed every 15 years after.
(2) The difference between an unregistered and registered trademark? When a trademark is registered, and has been approved, that trademark is entered into the Trademark Registrar held by the Canadian Trademarks Office. Unregistered trademarks can be enforced through common law means.
(3) The importance of registering a trademark: When a trademark has been registered it holds as evidence that a party possesses exclusive ownership across the nation, thus thwarting infringers within the borders of the country. Registering a trademark is mandatory for parties wishing to start a franchised business.
(4) Is it necessary to employ a trademark agent? The CIPC (Canadian Intellectual Property Office, strongly suggests that you use one, as registering a trademark can be a comprehensive process which could cost the party extra time and money.
(5) How to register a trademark? In Canada specifically, when filing a trademark registration form, it is necessary to send the registration forms to the Trademarks Office in Hull, Quebec. Once it is proven to be in adherence with the Trademarks Act of Canada, the application will be approved.
(6) Does registration protect product rights in different countries? No, it does not. Much like a copyright and patent, trademark protection is only good within the party’s nation. If the party wishes to conduct business in foreign countries it would be best to register the trademark at this foreign locations Trademark department.
(7) The difference between a trademark and a trade name: A trade name is the name of the business in which the operator works under. It can be a registered trademark, as long as the name identifies the types of goods or services.
(8) Can you register a personal name as a trademark? It is possible, but unlikely that ones proper name, whether yourself, or someone else’s, would be registered.
(9) The steps involved in registering a trademark: Registration of a trademark usually involves performing these following tasks:
+An initial search often performed by a trademark agent of existing in use trademarks
+The trademarks office examines the application, in which they publish in the magazine “Trademarks Journal”
+Allowance of sometime to see if any oppositions or challenges arise as a result to the application
+And, the acceptance and registration of the application so long as there is no opposition
(10) Allowing other parties to use the registered trademark: Rights to the trademark may be sold, trades, or bequeathed to other parties, through the process known as ‘assignment’. It is even allowable to licence rights to use your trademark.
Knowles, Ron. (2004) Small Business: An Entrepreneurs Plan. Thomson and Nelson. Fourth Canadian Edition