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Goodwill - Your Biggest Asset

"A good name is far better than great riches! It is wealth that can not be stolen. It is fortune that cannot be bought. It is honour and character, impossible to imitate, impossible to cheapen. It is integrity, and it is pride and this is why so many of us have names without price."
 
   Goodwill is your business, product, serivce, or brand name that you have built to be well-received, well-known, and respected by your clients, customers, or consumers.Your Goodwill is the way in which you set yourself apart from your competitors by being unique and disctinctive, or just doing the job better. 

Goodwill is your name and all it encompasses and it should be properly protected.

Consider this: A husband and wife team open a restaurant in Edmonton. They develop and introduce a unique food product which they called a "Wikter". The product is a great success in Edmonton, and it's reputation grows alongside the business. 

An enterprising businessman from Calgary visits the restaurant, eats the "Wikter" and realizes this is a good idea. This businessman opens his own restaurant in Calgary and sells "Wikters" as the feature item. 

However, because he never received permission to produce the "Wikter", he did not have the exact recipe. Therefore, a poor product was served. The Calgary business fails, and the businessman is sued by two of his former customers because they suffered upset stomachs.

Your first reaction to this story might be "Good, he stole it anyway". However, this is the plite of the average businessperson in Canada, with a unique idea or new product. The fact is, the Edmonton inventor of the "Wikter" is now faced with several problems:

(1) people from Calgary, when in Edmonton, would not buy a "Wikter" due to the bad press it had in Calgary, 
(2) people in Edmonton who do not know the two businesses are unrelated decide not to try a "Wikter", 
(3) the Edmonton businessman cannot expand his business into Calgary because he has an undeserved bad name there, 
(4) the Health department in Edmonton decides to visit the Edmonton business to make sure the Calgary problem does not exist in Edmonton, 
(5) the media reports the story about the health department visit, but the consumer only hears the business was investigated and forgets they were cleared, 
(6) the Edmonton business goes broke

All of this because the Edmonton restaurant had not protected their Goodwill. However, on the flip-side, consider the actions of someone who tries to open a Restaurant called "Wendy's" or "McDonald's". These companies sell well-known products with unique names registered as Trade Marks and protected by Federal law. When the owners of these marks learn of the existence of any business offering a burger with a similar name without authorization, the owners commence legal action to protect their good name. And their goodwill can be protected.

Governments no longer accept the responsibility for the reservation and protection of your corporate name. This responsibility now rests with the Incorporator of the company, meaning that just because you are incorporated, does not mean you are protected.

The Best Protection of your business, product, service, or brand name is the protection afforded by the Federal Government under the Trade Marks Act.

Trade Mark protection is not as widely used as it should be, and many businesses believe that Trademark protection is too expensive of an option for them. Trade Mark protection will provide you with a Country Wide registration of your Name, Design, Logo, Slogan, Packaging, or any other form of uniqueness that distinguishes your business or your products from those of your competitors. Once registered, you are protected from anyone using your Trademarks anywhere within the Country. Once registered, you are protected for a period of 15 years and can renew your registration into perpetuity.

We have turned the acquisition of a Trade Mark into a simple 3 Step Process. All you need to do is begin with Step 1, and follow through, and your goodwill will be protected.

Please also remember, that with the onset of NAFTA... not only goods flow freely across our borders. Our goodwill concerns do as well. Perhaps if you have a strong presence in the US as well as Canada, an applciation in both countries is what you may need.

Once your mark is registered you are, in effect, granted a monopoly in that country. Consider the ease of obtaining a judgement when all you need to produce in Court is evidence that a) you have a registered mark and b) the defendant is using a name or logo that is confusing with the registered mark. Two pieces of evidence certainly beats months worth of court battles and lawyer fees!


 

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