What are the benefits of Trademark Registration?
Filing an application for trademark registration gives you priority to your brand even before you have started using it: The filing date of your trademark application offers priority rights to the trademark throughout the country of registration, even if you have not begun to use your trademark. Generally speaking, the first to file an application gains a considerable advantage in securing rights to a trademark. For this reason, it is critical to start the registration process very early in your marketing plan.
Right to use registered trademark® symbol
Once registered you have the right to use the circle R symbol with your trademark. This gives notice to everyone else that your brand has the protective rights associated with registration. Without registration, you must only use the TM symbol for goods and SM for services associated with your brand.
Exclusivity to use your brand and to exclude others from using similar branding
Registration creates a legal presumption of the ownership and establishes a right of action against anyone who infringes on your trademark without having to prove that the infringer was trying to pass off their goods as your goods.
Statutory monetary damages
This is a meaningful right because without it you would have to be able to prove financial damage caused by an infringer or your mark which can be a prohibitively costly and time-intensive process. For this reason, statutory damages have the additional benefit of being a deterrent to would-be infringers.
Expansion of regions and product lines
Without trademark registration, your common law rights are restricted to the geographic region where you have used your trademark for the exact types of goods or services that you have sold with the mark. Registration allows you to expand into other geographic regions and potentially to expand related product lines.
Right to the domain name
A registered owner of a word trademark has priority to the domain name that incorporates the registered trademark, subject to certain conditions. This right helps to prevent others from hoarding domain names without the intention of actually using those domains.
Assistance of customs and border protection
Both US and Canada customs agencies offer assistance to registered trademark owners through programs designed to sift out counterfeit products. These programs aim to stop the importation of unlawfully trademarked goods into the US and Canada.
To find out more about what makes a strong trademark, stay tuned for our next installment in this 6-part series on trademarks. You can also contact us at 604-888-4200 or Dawn Deans at Kickstart Law Corporation at dawn [at] kickstartlaw [dot] com.