As Your Business Evolves So Should Your Trademark Strategy
Successful businesses evolve to meet the changing needs of their customers. This can take the form of new and innovative product and service offerings. It can also involve new or updated names, logos and slogans. Too often, businesses neglect the need to shore up their trademark rights during this process. The following are some key points to consider from a trademark perspective as your business evolves:
When Introducing New Products and Services – The fact that you have a trademark registration or have been using your trademark for a long time does not mean that you are protected if you decide to move into a new field. Review your existing registration(s) to determine whether the wares and services descriptions are broad enough to capture your new products and services. If not, have a clearance search conducted to determine whether the path is clear to move into the new line of business with your current trademark. If the path is clear, file a new trademark application or application to extend an existing registration to cover the new products and services.
When Adopting New Trademarks – You’ve come up with a clever name for a new product line, or a catchy slogan for your new services. Protect that mark by having a clearance search conducted and, if the path is clear, file an application to protect the new mark.
When Updating Your Trademarks – Most brands go through some form of a refresh or modernization at some point. Perhaps your original logo does not reflect the new direction of your business, or is an out of date design that doesn’t resonate with your current customer base. Depending on the significance of the changes to your marks, you may need to file new applications to protect the updated trademark(s).
When Expanding to New Regions Within Canada – If you have registered your trademark(s) with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, good news – you have secured your rights across the country. If not, you run the risk of violating someone else’s trademark rights in the new areas where you plan to do business, unless you take steps to clear and secure your rights.
When Expanding to New Countries – A trademark registration in Canada does not protect you in the United States, Europe, China, etc. Before you expand to new countries, first ensure that no one has prior rights in your mark(s), and then secure your rights by filing applications for all important marks.
Using a trademark that has not been properly cleared is a risk. If someone else already owns an identical or confusingly similar mark, you may find yourself faced with a lawsuit. Having to change a trademark after you have started using it can be expensive, disruptive to business, and can waste the goodwill you have acquired in the brand. Failing to register your marks for all of your products and services can restrict your ability to expand to new areas and enforce your trademark rights against third parties.
At Coastal Trademark Services, we can assist your business by performing the necessary clearance searches and protecting your trademarks in Canada, the United States and abroad.