Hello to all of our blog readers. I’m the firm’s corporate lawyer which makes me the go to guy on everything from basic incorporations to the finer points of intellectual property law. I’m also a CIPO (Canadian Intellectual Property Office) registered Trade-mark agent, which helps in that regard.
I’ll be blogging about things that might interest our corporate clients – from the basics to developments in case law. I hope you find something useful here…
Recently a lot of our clients have been asking me if they should be registering their trade-marks. While my answer depends on the nature of the business, I find more and more that if a business person is at the point of asking that question, the answer is likely going to be yes.
If you’re asking yourself that question, the first thing you need to know is what a trade-mark is. The Trade-marks Act says its “a mark that is used by a person for the purpose of distinguishing …wares or services manufactured, sold, leased, hired or performed by him from those manufactured, sold, leased, hired or performed by others.”
In more general terms, I would describe a trade-mark as the most concentrated essence of your entire brand. Any cachet that your business has, any reputation you may have earned and any recognition that exists for you and your product in the marketplace is completely tied up in your trade-marks. Your trade-marks are what identify you and they’re your customer’s guarantee that they’re dealing with a known quantity – you.
Rights in trade-marks are what are known as negative or restrictive rights. They restrict the right of others to use your mark, and in many cases to use marks that even ‘get close’ to your mark. They are there so the marketplace knows who made what and who does what. Having a registered trade-mark means people are less likely to come up with brands that are confusingly similar to yours – and when they do, having a registered trade-mark means there is something you can do about it.
So what does registering your trade-mark do? A number of things. It advertises your claim on the mark; it gives you excellent evidence of your use of the mark and it gives you a stronger claim for damages in the event of someone else’s infringing use.
In many cases we find that a business’ brand is their most important asset in terms of guaranteeing future cash flow. And as such, it’s the sort of asset that needs to be reviewed, protected and monitored against unauthorized use. And of course, those are all services that we offer. If you are thinking about registering your trade-mark, please contact us and we will be glad to have a frank discussion about how best to serve you.
Scott R. Young LL.B.
Barrister & Solicitor
Andriessen & Associates, Professional Corporation
Barristers & Solicitors
701 Evans Avenue, Suite 900
Tel: 416-620-7020 ext. 28