A logo is a graphical representation of a brand or product. When used correctly and over an extended period, it becomes the first thing that comes to mind when your audience thinks of your product or company.
As a result, a logo is a critical part of your intellectual property that you should consider protecting. In Canada, logos are registered as trademarks.
Many providers offer AI generated logos, which can be cost-effective and efficient for businesses. While this technology can assist in the design process, the final output should still align with your brand, conveying the right message to your target audience.
If you are thinking about registering your logo as a trademark and do not know where to start, you are in luck. This guide highlights everything you need to get started on your logo trademarking.
1. What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a brand or product identifier, including logos, brand names, sounds, or slogans. It helps distinguish one brand from others in the market. Upon trademark registration under your jurisdiction’s IP laws, you get an exclusive right to your trademarks, which helps keep others from using your identifiers to sell your products.
In most cases, trademarks must be registered if you hope to enforce your rights. However, you can enforce your rights in some situations even when your identifiers are not registered on a first-to-use basis.
Regarding logos, you could enjoy copyright protections by default if the graphics used in your logo are your creations. However, registering your logos is always a good idea to ease enforcing your rights.
2. Why You Need to Register Your Logo
As stated earlier, registering your logo gives you an exclusive right to use it. Also, it gives you the legal authority to stop others from using your logo without your express authority.
But the most critical reason is protecting your brand’s or business’s reputation. Your customers rely on your brand identifiers, such as brand names and logos, to pick out your products or services from their competitors.
Having someone else use your logo could mean your customers can buy those products, believing they are genuine. Unfortunately, copycats may not be as careful about quality as you are, which could significantly affect your brand reputation.
3. Trademarking a Logo in Canada
The agency responsible for IP rights registration in Canada is the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). There are three main options for registering trademarks in Canada: online registration on CIPO’s website, mail, and in-person registration.
The first step before filing for registration is conducting a trademark search on the Canadian trademark database and online. This step is critical because it minimizes the chances of denying your registration, which means incurring extra costs.
Your logo must be distinctive and not too similar to existing ones to be eligible. A unique and original design is more likely to receive protection. You need to demonstrate that you are using the logo in commerce or have a bona fide intention to use it. This requirement ensures that trademarks are associated with actual business activities.
If your application is allowed, your logo becomes registered, but you will need to pay official fees that include registration and service fees. Trademark protections last ten years after the registration date, but you can renew the rights every ten years for as long as you wish to retain your rights.
Registering your logo provides legal grounds to take action against others who may use a confusingly similar logo. Enforcement may include sending cease and desist letters or pursuing legal action to protect your trademark rights. Ensure you continue to use the logo in commerce as registered. Failure to do so may lead to the cancellation of your trademark.
4. Cost of Registering Your Trademarks
Several factors determine the cost of registering your trademarks in Canada. This means that the cost of registering your logo may be different from the cost of registering a brand name or a slogan. The number of classes of goods where you intend to use your logo will also determine the registration cost.
The filing fee ranges from $330 to CAD$430. If your application is approved, you must pay $100 to CAD$200 for the registration. The renewal fee is CAD$350 to CAD$550.
Besides the official fees, you must factor in the cost of professional help. You can work with a trademark agent or attorney. They charge fees depending on the complexity of the application and the services provided. This trademark pricing guide for Canada can be an excellent reference point if you want a rough idea of how much you will need to set aside for the budget.
There is a lot to trademark registration, so you may treat this guide as a starting point to understand trademarking your logos. While getting a lawyer seems like a costly affair, it may not be anything compared to the time and costs you could incur from making mistakes in the registration process.