In todays business world, protecting your companys brand is absolutely critical. A brand is the image and reputation of your business as it is perceived by your customers. Building a brand image is a key element of successful marketing. Everything identifying your business its name, product and service names, slogans, logos, taglines and even sound marks together produce a distinct brand image among your customers. Memorable branding gives you a competitive edge and promotes customer loyalty and repeat sales.
In today’s competitive marketplace, your brand can become one of your most valuable assets as it becomes more and more recognizable to customers over time. This value can become so great that you can use it as an asset to leverage financing with banks and other lending institutions.
Some companies decide just to use a name and take the risk that someone is already using it or that it will be copied, undermining their value and reputation – this is a high risk strategy. It is important to start early – ideally before you commit to a name. Data base searches should be conducted to check if the name (or a similar name) is already registered.
Brands can take many different forms as illustrated below:
Company name: Legal name, registered federally, provincially or territorially. ?Example: Lululemon Athletica Inc.
Business name: Name under which you conduct your business. ?Example: Lululemon Athletica.
Domain name: Name of your address on the Web. Example: www.lululemon.com.
Trademark: A trademark may be one, or a combination of words, sounds or designs used to distinguish your goods and services from others in the marketplace.?
Protecting your brand and its associated products and services is critical to your future sales. Trademark registration gives you exclusive rights and the most comprehensive form of protection. Without this protection, a competitor could use your brand or something similar that customers could confuse with your brand.
You can register trademarks to protect key elements of your marketing and corporate brands. This includes logos, product/service names, slogans and more.
Why Register Your Trademark?
1. It shows that the assets are yours;
2. It gives you exclusive rights across Canada for 15 years and may be renewed indefinitely;
3. It stops others from using a confusingly similar trademark;
4. It allows you to flag infringements by others; and
5. It helps with trademark licensing, which you can use to increase revenues and increase your brand’s reach.
A lesser form of protection is to incorporate a company with your chosen business name with the B.C. Registrar of Companies. A registered trademark will trump a business name, which has been incorporated provincially, but it is a less expensive form of protection if one is not concerned about achieving exclusive rights over the name across Canada.
The key to protecting your brand is to start early. Consult an experienced lawyer to provide you with the proper advice.
With this in mind, C2K Law Corporation provides timely legal advice in relation to all types of corporate/commercial and business law matters. We strive to deliver an affordable, value-added service to suit your individual needs. We recognize that you are concerned about the costs of legal services. We do our best to provide a low cost value added service by leveraging technology and reducing overhead expenses passing the savings on to you. We use our entrepreneurship in our creative problem-solving approach, which enables us to take immediate and decisive action.
*The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.