If you want to safeguard your business name, registering it as a trademark is the most effective way. However, name registration only provides protection against other businesses in Ontario using your name, while trademark registration secures your name across Canada. But there is a catch. While it is true that a trademarked name cannot be used by others in Canada, this prohibition only applies to similar products or services. As a result, it is possible for someone else to use your trademarked name in a different context. Additionally, your trademark may be removed if someone has already been using a similar mark in Canada for similar products or services.
The Lengthy Trademark Registration Process and Its Complexities
Trademark registration can be a time-consuming process, typically taking one to two years from the date the application is filed. Due to the complexity of trademark applications, it’s recommended that clients seek assistance from a qualified trademark agent to ensure a smooth process. If an application is declined, it can lead to significant delays and the loss of the ability to use a name that has become associated with your business’ brand.
The Importance of Protecting Your Trademark’s Distinctiveness To safeguard a trademark’s distinctiveness, it is crucial to use it appropriately and take action against any unauthorized use by others. Failure to enforce proper controls over your trademark use by other businesses or individuals could result in the loss of your trademark protection. To prevent this from happening, consider seeking legal assistance to prevent other businesses from using your trademark.
Understanding “Doing Business As” Names
In certain cases, corporations, partnerships, or proprietorships may want to conduct business under a name other than their legal name. This is referred to as a “dba” name or a “doing business as” name. Registering a dba name does not offer legal protection for the name under trademark law; however, it can provide proof of prior use of the name, which can be useful if you intend to trademark the name or face a trademark conflict in the future. As the following section explains, failing to use your company’s full legal name can result in personal liability.
Using Your Business Name
If your business incorporates as a company, it must use its full corporate name, including “Ltd.” or “Inc.”, in most instances. A dba name is typically not an appropriate substitute for a business’ corporate name. To give a few examples, a company must display its full corporate name at every place it carries on business, on all its notices and official publications used in Business BC, and on all its contracts, business letters, orders for goods, invoices, statements of accounts, and receipts. The list of places where the full corporate name must be used is extensive, so if you are unsure whether the full corporate name is required a lawyer can assist you. Failure to use the full corporate name can open directors and officers of the company up to personal liability.
Using Your Business Name
Effectively When incorporating your business as a company, it’s crucial to use its full corporate name, including “Ltd.” or “Inc.”, in most cases. A dba name isn’t typically an appropriate substitute for a business’ corporate name. For instance, your company must display its full corporate name at every location where it does business, on all its notices and official publications, and on all its contracts, business letters, orders for goods, invoices, statements of accounts, and receipts. The full corporate name must be used in numerous places, so if you’re uncertain whether it’s required, it’s best to consult a lawyer. Not using the full corporate name can lead to personal liability for directors and officers of the company.
In conclusion, many business owners wonder how to legally protect their business name and logo. It’s a crucial step that should be taken seriously, as it can greatly impact the success of your business. One way to safeguard your business name is by registering it as a trademark, which provides protection throughout Canada, but only for similar products or services. However, this process can take up to two years, and it’s recommended that you seek assistance from a qualified trademark agent. Proper use of your trademark is also important to maintain its distinctiveness and prevent others from using it. All official documents should use the full corporate name, including “Ltd.” or “Inc.” in most cases, to avoid exposing directors and officers to personal liability. While a “dba” name may not offer trademark protection, it can provide evidence of prior use of the name.