Those companies or individuals who carry on business under one name but are known to their customers by a shortened version of their name or another name altogether. The goodwill attached to the company is therefore transmitted through the KNOWN AS name. A good example is International Business Machines who are KNOWN AS IBM. IBM is a registered trade mark.
When products are sold by the brand name on the package and not by the supplier's or manufacturer's name. We all go to the store to purchase "Kleenex". We do not go to the store and look for a tissue as supplied by Kimberly-Clark Limited. The brand name is therefore significant as the goodwill of the manufacturer is known through the goodwill of the product. These brand names should be registered.
Every business that offers a franchise is a prime candidate for trade mark registration. The owner of a mark has the right to register, and cancel, others as Registered Users of his mark.
A dispute between a Franchisee and Franchisor may drag through the courts for months, even years, whereas, the owner of the mark needs only give thirty days written notice of his intent to cancel the Licensed User agreements. If the User continues to use the marks after the right has been cancelled the owner can secure a court order to remove all items, including stationery, signs, inventory, invoices, etc., that bear the mark. The owner of the mark has a powerful tool in dealing with franchisees.
The principals that apply to Franchisors apply to Licensors. When the product is manufactured or supplied by another company whose reputation is not on the line when the product is sold, it is important that product quality controls be maintained. Trade mark registration and the use of a Registered User agreement will provide this protection.
Companies that take the time to source and secure the Canadian marketing rights to a product that has never been sold or made known in Canada must spend money to promote the BRAND NAME as used abroad and generate goodwill in Canada for this new product. These importers should protect their investment in the goodwill associated with the product. The importer is also protected against the exporter deciding to sell his products direct.
Well over 140 foreign countries allow marks that are registered in Canada to be registered abroad. Once your marks are registered you will have protection against foreign exporters who wish to penetrate your markets by producing a competitive product in a foreign country. Customs officials can deny the admission of any product into a country that may infringe on the rights of a trade mark owner.
You also protect yourself against the importer who decides to have your product made by someone else once the importer registers your name in that foreign country.
Many business organizations, unions, and Professional Associations have established a set of standards which their members are obligated to maintain. Such associations pride themselves on their standards and encourage members of the public to deal with association members. The names of the associations may not be registrable as trade marks but the logos certainly are.
These logos are register-able as Certification marks as they denote a standard of excellence that the member users of the association must meet in order to maintain their membership. The public, upon viewing the logo, will know that the service provider has meet the defined standard and thus he can be trusted.
Businesses that have established goodwill in a community, due to length of time in business, multiple locations within a community or businesses that are operating or planning to locate in another community should consider trade mark registration.
When businesses start to experience success and decide to expand, they become a prime candidate for the thief who wants to steal their marketing ideas and promote a similar business in another community.
This area is highly overlooked and it is the one that needs the most protection. Companies that offer only services such as restaurants, construction companies, home builders, machine shops, trucking companies, consultants, etc., are often the most vulnerable as they do not have a product to protect but do have a reputation that must be protected. This group of companies is represented by more than half of the businesses listed in any yellow pages, yet collectively they have less than 3% of all marks registered.
The stage names used by entertainers, their signatures, and their caricatures are all prime candidates for trade mark protection. Once the public starts to recognize an entertainer by the stage name they will purchase the entertainer's marketed products. It is now time to register.
Authors or publishers of printed articles, magazines, or software, with a changing customer base, should trade mark the name or title of their written works.
If you have read to the bottom of this page then you have come to the conclusion that you may have a trademark that needs protection. It is now time to find out if one of your assets is registrable by causing a search to be prepared. See below for details.
Victor G. Arcuri, President Arvic Search Services Inc., Registered Trademark Agents and Corporate Paralegals since 1982; Across North America Toll Free: 1-888-227-8421
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