A trademark grants the creator of a product exclusive rights over its use and distribution. Although most people like to think that no one would use someone else’s product for their own gain, it happens all the time and it is for this reason that trademarks are necessary.
If you have created a product and want to ensure that you have sole rights over its use, you may want to consider registering a trademark for your product to safeguard it against others profiting from it. Below are reasons why you should consider this process and ways that you can benefit.
1. Exclusive rights
Probably the most obvious reason to file a trademark for your product is because it gives you exclusive rights to it as the owner. The exclusive rights afforded to the applicant discourages other parties from using the same or similar trademarked products, meaning there is little chance that consumers will confuse them with your trademark.
When you obtain approval for a trademark, it is good for 15 years across Canada and you are given priority when the time comes to renew it.
2. Enforcement options
As mentioned, once your trademark is registered, same or similar trademarks will not be approved. This is often enough to dissuade others from infringing on your trademark, but in the event it does happen, the fact that yours is already registered gives you enforcement options.
If an infringement occurs, the owner of the original trademark has the authority to enforce exclusivity rights and this can result in an injunction that orders the surrendering of profits to the owner, the payment of damages, or the destruction of any infringing products. In these instances, you will most likely need to consult with a trademark lawyer for help.
If your trademark is unregistered, there are legal options you can look at, but they are fewer in number and it is significantly harder to receive an outcome that would be favourable.
3. Ability to grant rights
When you first apply for trademark approval, you may be concerned with exclusivity the most and think that you have already decided that you will be the only one able to use your trademark.
However, somewhere down the line you may consider allowing other parties to use your trademark if they make requests. Granting permission for another part to use your trademark allows you to make financial gains in the form of either a one-time fee or royalty fees and you as the owner of the trademark has significant say in how the trademark is presented.
When trademark rights are granted to others, they can be exclusive which means no other party will be afforded the right to use the trademark or non-exclusive where the owner may choose to grant the rights to use the trademark to others. Both methods allow the owner the opportunity to create more revenue and increase the attention their trademark receives.
4. Access to other markets
When a trademark gets approval in Canada, it is only applicable within the country but it can definitely be helpful if applying abroad. If you undertake the process of registering your trademark in another country, the presence of your trademark in Canada will influence the process in the foreign country you are applying to and your chances of gaining approval will be better.
The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property signed in 1883 allows for the registration of trademarks in foreign countries based on the registration and use in the owner’s home country. Under this treaty, as long as you file in the foreign country within six months of your application in Canada, your trademark will most likely be approved. Having access to other markets will allow your trademark to reach a broader client base and has the potential to increase your sales.