The word trademark sounds important to many. It sounds big. It sounds expensive. As a result, many small businesses believe that registering a trademark for their name and/or log is not important.
While cost is always a consideration in any business decision, registering a trademark will actually save legal fees, in the event you are challenged by someone who did register a trademark and takes you to court for infringing.
This is not to say, failure to register a trademark means you will lose the court challenge: however, obtaining your own registration ensures you are far less likely to find yourself defending your brand from attack.
Urban Distilleries Inc. learned the above lesson the expensive way. The company started marketing its’ vodka and gin as “Spirit Bear Gin” and “Spirit Bear Vodka”. The company did apply for a trademark on the names and the City of Terrace and Kitasso Band Council opposed the registration. Rather than following through the legal process to conclusion and defending their registration, the distillery abandoned the process, believing it could continue to use the unregistered trademark.
The City & Council brought a Court proceeding in Federal Court claiming their rights over the trademark and sued the distillery for infringement. Happily the distillery won the law suit, however, it had a very large legal bill.
The legal bill could have been avoided had the distillery completed the trademark registration process.
When you are starting a business and building your brand, take time to protect that brand. If you use a trademark agent (such as our firm) to register the trademark before you invest a lot of money and time into it, you’ll ensure you’re not throwing away hard work on something someone else is already using.
Our firm charges a flat fee of $ 2 000.00 plus disbursements and taxes to register a trademark. This includes all meetings, correspondence, phone calls and registration documentation to protect your brand.
If you’re a new business, $ 2 000.00 is a lot of money. However, litigation to protect your brand will easily cost you $ 20 000.00 or more.
Some things are worth protecting and your brand is one of them.
Inga B. Andriessen JD