Trademarks and Protecting Your Idea.


Corporate symbols, words, sounds, and designs are items that can be protected under the Trademark Act. Companies trademark their product names and slogans in order to distinguish themselves from other businesses. Examples of common trademarks would include Chevrolet, Pampers, Crest, Head & Shoulders, Built Ford Tough, Snap Crackle and Pop, The New Generation, and Pepsi-Cola. If you plan to sell a new soda pop and call it Pepsi-Cola, with a slogan, the "UnCola", you would undoubtedly have a few lawsuits on your hands. You will alleviate any possible trademark infringement by contacting and registering your own sounds, words, designs, slogans, and brand names with the Patent and Trademark Office. The address and telephone number is provided at the end of this section.

To register a trademark, you must complete an application form provided by the Trademark Office. You will be charged a modest registration fee depending upon the nature of the trademark. Be prepared to send four drawings of your trademark on a piece of paper no larger then 7cm by 7cm and include a separate sheet with a description of the colours to be claimed for your Trademark. If your design is to be trademarked, you may be required to send labels or displays to show how it is actually used. Your application then goes through an examination to make sure it meets all requirements. When the trademark is approved, your business will have complete control over using it. The useful life of a trademark is 15 years, at which time, the business has the option of renewing it or abandoning it.

To show that your symbol, design, jingle, sound, slogan, or name has been registered as a trademark, you are required to place the initials TM after the trademarked item each time it is used. For trademark information contact the Patent and Trademark Office.

Related web links include:   1) Additional info on Trademarks and 2) Canadian Trademarks Database

US Patent and Trademark Office:

Patent and Trademark Office
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, D.C. 20231
Telephone:(703) 308- 4357

Canadian Patent and Trademark Office:

Patent and Trademark Office
Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Industry Canada
50 Victoria Street
Place du Portage, Phase 1
Hull, Quebec, K1A 0C9
Telephone:(819) 997-1936


Categories: General