Registering a trademark is an essential part of protecting your business’s intellectual property and brand. A registered trademark provides businesses with legal recourse should their competitors try to use the same trademark or a very similar one, and it also opens up the possibility for licensing — which is a great way to extend the reach, influence and value of a brand.
But registration is a complex process, and without sufficient research and care, an application can be rejected despite months of work if it fails to meet the standards of the regulatory body that is reviewing it. Here are just a few of the ways registration can go wrong.
1.The Trademark is Insufficiently Distinctive
A trademark is an essential part of branding, and as such it needs to meet certain standards of uniqueness. You cannot register clearly descriptive words or marks, clearly misdescriptive words or marks, marks that refer to the geographic origin of your product, marks that are confusingly similar with those that have already been registered or are in the process of registration, and marks which are the name of the goods and/or services that the mark is being used with.
2.The Trademark is Already in Use
A main stipulation of the Canadian Trade-marks Act, the legislation that governs trademarks, is that in order to be registered, a trademark cannot already be in use. This means that if a company is already using a trademark, another company cannot take it — even if the first company has not registered its use.
Before a registration application can be made, the applicant should determine whether or not their trademark is currently seeing common-law use.
3.Incorrect Trademark Class
A business needs to specify in its application what class of products a particular trademark will cover. A common error applicants make is being too narrow or too broad in their description of what products or services they want their trademark attached to. A trademark intended to cover craft beer, for example, should not also be registered to cover hunting equipment.
A common, but surprising, issue in applications involves confusion over who the actual applicant is. The trademark must be registered in the name of the entity that will be using it in commerce. If your trademark is going to be used by the business itself, the application must be made in the name of the business — not its founder or CEO.
If you want to avoid these mistakes and ensure that your application has a happy ending, the best things to do is work with professional trademark experts who can help you foresee potential issues and respond to them before they compromise your application.
If you want to learn more about trademark registration and how trademark experts can help, get in touch with local trademark lawyers who know the ins and outs of registration in your jurisdiction.
Companies like The Trademark Shop have the expertise to help you navigate the registration process, and can help you avoid these common pitfalls. With the right trademark agent, you can gain the benefits of a registered trademark without having to personally handle the extensive research needed to ensure that your trademark is unique, distinctive, and compliant with regulations.
If you’ve been avoiding registering your trademark out of concern that you lack the time or knowledge to go through the application process on your own, get in touch with specialized lawyers at The Trademark Shop and get started today.