Before choosing a name, brand or applying for a trademark registration, a trademark search should be conducted. While this is optional, it alerts you of potentially confusing trademarks and thus saves you the cost of additional fees, including the costs of
- an opposition (i.e. a “abridged court-like proceeding” before the Canadian Intellectual Property Office)
- defending a trademark infringement litigation suit
- changing your name and stationery as well as having to inform your customers/suppliers that you are “re-branding”.
This oversight can be both expensive and embarrassing. A trademark search should cover names which are similar to or the same as your proposed brand name or trademark.
A common misconception is that you can use a trademark, name or brand that is not identical but merely resembles a registered trademark. However, a proposed name or brand need not be identical to cause confusion in the minds of consumers. If the proposed trademark/name or brand, sound alike, look alike or suggest the same idea as the registered trademark, it may be difficult to obtain brand protection. Likewise, the owner of a registered trademark may consider launching a proceeding/other litigation, to protect its “stake” to its pre-existing trademark.
Our trademark lawyers and agents in Ottawa and Toronto can assist with running a trademark search, reviewing the results, and advise on whether or not your proposed trademark should proceed to the trademark registration process. Get in touch, so we can help gain the best brand protection for you and your business.