Friday, October 30, 2009

To Trademark or Not To Trademark

I know that many people are confused about trademarks and when they can use them.

Here is a good definition about trademarks in Wikipedia.

Firstly, I am not a lawyer; this is not official legal advice. But it will be of some help.

Using the TM Symbol

My understanding is that you are welcome to use the TM (or SM which I just discovered in the above link, but have never seen used) for whatever is your trademark... for free.

Registering Your Trademark?

What the registered trademark will do for you is give you leverage in court if someone is infringing on your trademarks. Registering your trademark is also a good choice for protection if you have not decided to Federally Incorporate (under the word you want to trademark). A trademark is the second highest form of protection in all of Canada.

Registering a trademark is not as expensive as you may think. I got one done last year, and it cost approx. $1,500 CDN.

In either case (registering or just using the TM/SM symbol), you'd have to be prepared to spend $$ on legal costs defending your trademarks.

Using the TM symbol looks cool and marks your territory on your words/brands. You don't have to mention that you aren't pursuing the official registrations.

A good idea is to document the date(s) you started USING each trademark in your business, and back it up with some sort of record or proof of same (print off a page of your live website using the trademarks, etc.). Then you will be prepared to go to court (even if you decide not to).

Do Your Homework

Be sure and research your competitors and make sure you aren't infringing on their trademarks before you spend time and $$ advertising. You can also search the Canadian Trade-marks Database or get more info here.

No comments:

Post a Comment