FAQ - The Trademark Group
What is a trademark?
A trademark is a legal and business tool that helps you and your brand have a unique presence in the marketplace. Any special element that you use to promote and distinguish your business (and the services or products you sell) from others can be a trademark. Logos, names, slogans, colors and packaging can all be trademarks and are all key ways to build a strong brand identity. You want customers or prospects to associate your trademark with your business, and you certainly don’t want someone else creating confusion in the marketplace by using a mark similar, or identical, to the one in which you’ve invested so much time, money, and effort.
Are there words or designs that can’t be used as a trademark?
Some terms are off limits for trademark usage, such as proper names, colors, descriptive terms, and places of origin. Also, government verbiage and symbols, or derivations thereof, cannot be used in fashioning a trademark. Racial slurs or obscene imagery is also frowned upon, as are portraits or signatures of people who have died within the last three decades.
Why should I register my trademark?
While there is no requirement that trademarks be registered, it is highly recommended that you do so as it will help protect the mark against imitation and infringement. Registration provides you with proof of ownership of the mark, and allows you to pursue claims for infringement under the Trademarks Act. A registration gives you exclusive rights to use the mark across Canada for 15 years and can be renewed indefinitely.
When should a trademark be registered?
It is important to register your trademark as soon as you begin to affiliate your brand or corporate image with it. The registration process will reveal whether or not a similar trademark is already in use, minimizing the risk of an infringement lawsuit and an unfavorable judgment after you’ve already invested significant time and resources building your brand.
The Trademark Group – Experienced Toronto Intellectual Property Lawyers
Whether for a start-up or an established business, an individual or a non-profit, if it involves trademarks, The Trademark Group is the one-stop shop that will deliver expert service at reasonable rates. The Trademark Shop’s experienced lawyers and CIPO registered trademark agents specialize in pre-registration strategizing, working with their clients to craft their brand and tailor their applications. With an approachable, friendly and plain-language approach, their lawyers help their clients register and protect the strongest marks possible. The Trademark Group stands ready to protect their clients’ marks from infringement, having experience in complex litigation but also skilled at encouraging early, amicable and cost-effective resolution of any disputes that arise. The specialists at The Trademark Group have expertise in licensing, assignment, non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements for trademarks as well as for copyrights, and provide their clients with full intellectual property audits so that they can identify and protect all of their intellectual property assets. As business lawyers, they provide a full range of sophisticated business, corporate, contract and employment law services as well. Offering a flat fee structure means clients know upfront exactly what they’ll be paying, with no hidden fees and no charges for initial consultations or phone meetings. The Trademark Group is located in Toronto in the CSI Annex, 720 Bathurst St. Contact them at 1-855-2TM-SHOP (1-855-286-7467) or at info@trademarkGroup.ca to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and needs assessment.