By Klayman & Company 30 Sep, 2016

If you want to protect the unique name of your business, website or domain name, logo, product or service name, or company slogan, you may wish to apply for a trademark.

What Is a Trademark?
According to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office:

“A trademark is a combination of letters, words, sounds or designs that distinguishes one company’s goods or services from those of others in the marketplace. A trademark is unique. It is important to a company because over time, a trademark comes to stand not only for the actual goods and services you sell, but also for your company’s reputation and brand.”

There are three types of trademark registrations available to protect your business name:

  1. A logo trademark: protects the design element that identifies the goods or services of a business or an individual. For example, an apple with a bite out of it immediately brings Apple computers to mind. A logo is protected by its unique artistic and layout elements.
    A word trademark: is words used without any artistic design. (The artistic use of words is protected by copyright.) Company names, business names, names of organizations, product names, names of individuals, names of TV and radio shows can be registered. Mazda’s “Zoom-Zoom-Zoom” is an identifiable phrase protected by trademark. Coca Cola is protected by trademark, both regarding the name itself, and the Spencerian script in which it is written. (This iconic logo was created by the company’s treasurer and secretary, Frank M. Robinson.)
  2. If your business name: is important as an identifier to your product or service you can protect it by registering. If you do not register your name someone else can use it and force you to change your business name. If such were the case you would have to change everything in your business that contains the words registered by another party. There is no protection offered by placing a (™) beside the name.
  3. Your Website domain name: can also be trademark registered. It should be noted that registering the domain name with an Internet registration authority does not provide any protection or right to use the domain name commercially in Canada.

Registration of a trademark can take 12 to 18 months.

Registration Takes Time

The registration process can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. But, once you register your trademark, it:

  1. is irrefutable proof that the trademark belongs to you
  2. provides you with exclusive rights to use the trademark in Canada for 15 years
  3. provides comfort that others cannot use a similar confusing trademark
  4. allows monitoring of infringements by others
  5. allows you to license the trademark and provide a boost to your company brand
  6. should be noted that, if you need to protect your trademark in other countries, it will be necessary to register the trademark in each country in which you wish protection

Trademarks are good for 15 years in Canada. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (the Canadian registry for trademarks) sends a notice when the 15-year period is about to expire. If the renewal application and payment are not received, the trademark is expunged. This means effectively that someone else could adopt your original logo.

Who Knew?

Interestingly, a trademarked name can become so entrenched in our culture that they become generic. For instance the following words are all trademarked but are used in our everyday conversations: Aspirin, Band-Aid, Jeep, Kleenex, Lycra, Popsicle, Taser, Vaseline, Velcro, Zipper.

It May Be Worth Your While

Because of the time, effort, expertise and cost required to register a trademark, owner-managers wishing to register a trademark should seek counsel. The Internet lists organizations willing to assist for a fee.

By Klayman & Company 16 Aug, 2017

Because lighting, heating and cooling represent 19%-25% of the cost of operating a commercial business, control of energy costs is essential to improving profit margins. A reduction of even 10% in these costs can produce a significant improvement. But, because Canada is located in a part of the world where temperatures can range from 40C below zero to 35C above, it is inevitably expensive to keep internal temperatures at levels needed to maintain comfortable working conditions through the changing seasons.

By Klayman & Company 16 Aug, 2017

Setting the price point for your product or service is not simply the process of determining the cost of production then adding a mark-up. It is more a matter of understanding the price the consumer will accept as the value of your product or service and keeping the costs of production to a level that will give you a profit at that price.

By Klayman & Company 16 Aug, 2017

The significant rise in the cost of equipment, vehicles, real estate, and inventory has prompted many businesses to increase business debt. Low interest rates, combined with the ability to obtain larger loans with extended payment terms, have allowed businesses to operate in a “business as usual” mode with less consideration for the actual cost of borrowing.

To give some idea of the effect of even low interest rates on an owner-managed business, the following key elements of most businesses have been put forward as an example of the effect of interest costs on a business. The effect of domestic borrowing has been added to show the full impact of current interest rates on the owner-manager. Since lending rates vary widely depending on a variety of factors such as risk, item to be funded and the term, and are usually negotiated, the interest rates used below have been chosen at random from Internet sources; calculations are approximate and for illustrative purposes only . All loans have been made effective June 1, 2017.

  • Commercial mortgage: $600,000 over 25 years at 3%
  • Two work vehicles: $120,000 financed over five years at 6%
  • Equipment loan: $200,000 financed over five years at 5%
  • Operating line of credit: $50,000 at 3% a year
  • Credit card debt: $10,000 at 15% a year on the outstanding balance

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