The online world has changed the game as to how businesses operate and where they can sell their products. Whether your business operates as an e-commerce model, physical products or a SaaS product, Canadians have more options and flexibility to ignite a successful business now, more than ever before. Cross-border opportunities, however, can also bring cross-border confusion, specifically about trademarks and intellectual properties. Canadian entrepreneurs may wonder whether or not a trademark registered in Canada protects them against competitors in the United States, and other countries, from using their trademark name or intellectual property.
The simple answer is no, it does not. A trademark filed in Canada protects the trademark within the Canadian borders, only. Intellectual property can be an incredibly valuable asset; however, a Canadian patent, trademark or industrial design only secures your right within Canada. In Canada, a company can file their trademark application through the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. There are fees associated with filing, registration and renewals. If your business is looking to have sales opportunities outside of Canada, then you may wish to consider protection in the countries you are looking to do business in.
For companies looking to do business in the United States, intellectual property can be registered online through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Filing for a trademark through the USPTO requires payments of additional fees that are more expensive than tin Canada, particularly when exchange rates are considered.
Once a trademark is filed, whether in the U.S. or Canada, an Examiner reviews that application to determine whether or not it meets the requirements for registration. Confusion with existing trademarks is a common reason for refusal. Confusion does not require that the trademarks be identical in appearance. Similarities in appearance, sound and ideas suggested can impact potential success of registration.
In the event of a refusal, fees are not refundable. This can place a financial burden on businesses to either fight the refusal or change their entire branding and IP strategy. A trademark lawyer or agent can provide insight into the trademark procedure, potential success through the process and advice for brand protection. Businesses can benefit from the assistance of these professionals.
You can read more on trademarks by clicking here or contact us with any questions.