Trademarks: Making your mark helps set your company apart from the competition
In today’s competitive marketplace businesses may want to consider trade marking their products or services as a way to distinguish their business from their competition.
According to Wikipedia, a trade mark, is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business, organization or other legal entity to identify products or services to consumers and indicates the trademark originates from a unique source. It is also used to distinguish products or services from those of other entities.
I recently explored this concept with two of my clients. One I suggested applying for a trademark to protect a process related to a training approach. The other, a phrase that can be used to distinguish the way the company promotes its services as a specialist. In both cases, a trademark will give the company an added advantage –it can be used in promotional materials and prevent competitors from using the symbol, phrase or work and most importantly set the company apart for its competitors.
According to lawyer, Michelle Wassenaar, an international Trademark and Intellectual Property lawyer at Johnston Wassenaar, “It can be very effective to register a trade-mark since it gives the owner the exclusive right to use the trade-mark across Canada.”
A trademark is typically a name, word, phrase, logo or symbol or a combination. It may be designated by the following symbols:
- ™ (for an unregistered trade mark, that is, a mark used to promote or brand goods)
- SM (for an unregistered service mark, that is, a mark used to promote or brand services)
- ® (for a registered trademark)
The process starts with researching whether the trademark is registered; if it’s not then an application is made for a registered trademark. “ When a company makes application for a registered trade mark (or simply decides that they have a common law trade-mark), they can use the symbol ™ “ says Michelle Wassenaar “ and when an application is registered, which typically takes about 2 years, then the ® symbol can be applied. “