In this article, we dive into a real-life journey to understand the nuances of registering a clothing brand. Our guide through this process is Ed, a Canadian entrepreneur who embarked on the journey of establishing his clothing business.
A trademark doesn't just protect your brand; it's an essential asset that adds value to your company. Especially in the clothing industry, where brand identity and protection against copycats are crucial, having a trademark is a significant step in establishing your business's legitimacy and market presence.
One of the key lessons Ed learned was about timing. Registering a trademark is a strategic decision. For Ed, the first year was about understanding the market and establishing his business rather than registering his brand name. Ed's initial dilemma was common among new business owners: how to use his limited resources. The cost of trademark registration, around 600 USD, is substantial for a startup. Therefore, it's often advisable to consider trademark registration when:
After a year of hard work, Ed's business was growing. He expanded his sales channels from social media and local fairs to online platforms like Shopify, Etsy, and Amazon. This expansion brought new challenges, notably the risk of brand hijacking on Amazon. This risk underscored the need for trademark protection.
As Ed discovered, registering a trademark involves several key points:
After weighing the benefits and understanding the process, Ed decided to proceed with registering his trademark in Canada. This decision marked a new phase in his business journey, protecting his brand and solidifying his market presence.
When Ed first considered registering his trademark, he quickly realized the complexity of the process. Despite using the brand name for a year and believing it to be unique, he learned that a simple Google search wasn't sufficient. The existence of millions of marks in North America meant a professional search in the Official Trademark Database of Canada was essential. This search also needed to include similar marks, not just identical ones, to avoid potential conflicts.
Ed's application process involved several key steps:
Ed faced the first two steps of the trademark process with ease. He decided to register the trademark under his personal name and chose a wordmark as his trademark type. This decision was based on Bonamark's recommendation, which touted the wordmark as the most versatile and powerful option. While logos and combined marks have their merits, they were suggested as secondary options, reserved for instances where a wordmark might face registration challenges.
Luckily, a list of items is accepted by the Canadian Trademark Office. Ed simply had to choose the items he was selling.
The catch was that the complete list of class 25 items included around a thousand items, and he needed to choose only 30 as Bonamark's consultant recommended adding a limited number of items to avoid problems with the application.
Bonamark's consultant studied Ed's website and helped determine 14 items that would cover all the products of Ed. Some of the items were quite broad: jeans, dresses, and hats. Ed added another 7 items that would include the products he will sell in the future.
Note: in the USA you can register a trademark only for product names you are selling right now.
Bonamark prepared a final confirmation form, and once Ed approved everything, Bonamark's licensed Canadian attorney filed the mark.
Ed received a confirmation of filing, and his trademark was published on the website of the Canadian Trademark Office. He started to use a TM sign next to his trademark to show that he considered this word his trademark.
Next, he enrolled his brand in the Amazon Brand Registry. After this, he only needed to wait for a development in the process. The Trademark Office of Canada is rather slow, so it can take months for an update.
Ed's journey demonstrates the critical importance of understanding and navigating the trademark registration process. His experience underlines that every business journey is unique, with varying needs and timing for trademark registration.
For more in-depth information about trademark search, we recommend a video here
Also, explore our comprehensive resources at Bonamark.com: https://bonamark.com/content