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One of the most frequently asked questions by those newer to the trademark world is “How long will it take to get my trademark registered?” Frustratingly, as with so very many things in the legal world, the real answer is “It depends”. There are genuine reasons why this should be so. Innumerable factors can impact your application to register a trademark and no promises can be made as to the time that your specific application will take. However, there are some indications that you can use to create a general guideline of what you might expect in Canada.

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Confusion around various elements of trademarks abound. Queries such as  whether you can use a particular mark and whether you need to file an application to register a trademark are common. One area of confusion lies around the TM and R symbols, what they represent and why and when you should use them.

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“Humiliation on a grand scale”. “The country in turmoil”. “An economic depression akin to the 1930s”. What a week it has been in British politics. On 11 December 2018, Parliamentarians will have a “meaningful vote” on both the Withdrawal Agreement and the outline for the future relationship between Brexit Britain and the European Union (EU). At the time of writing, it has been predicted Prime Minister, Theresa May’s proposed deal will be rejected, and given that the EU has stated it will not renegotiate, the country will be left with two stark choices – no deal or no Brexit.

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Across Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) globally, different regulations, systems and practices mean that at least a passing familiarity with that region is helpful in terms of successful trademark registration. In the EU, for example, it is a requirement that the representative who files the application to register a trademark has an EU address. That representative does not have to be a trademark attorney although if your application encounters difficulty, one will be required to manage certain issues.

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There is a compelling reason why companies seek to protect their brands with trademark registrations - revenue. It takes significant investment in terms of resources to build a successful brand. Leveraging a return on that investment becomes critical.

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Sir Terry Pratchett wrote “Those that can do, will have to do for those who can’t and someone has to speak for those who have no voices.” While this is undoubtedly true, it is much more critical wherever possible, to empower the transformation of those who can’t into those who can and support the voiceless into finding a voice of their own.

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The trademark world is far from perfect. Like everyone, I’m far from unfamiliar with the notion of imperfection. Our lived experiences are full of inconsistent policies, the impact of legislation with unintended or unforeseen consequences, misunderstandings, miscommunication, mistakes and sometimes outright incompetence or malice.

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