Trademark protection ‘vital for franchise owners’

Franchise owners need to invest time and money in securing a trademark.

This is according to Chad Finkelstein, a franchise lawyer at Dale & Lessmann LLP in Toronto, Canada. Writing for the Financial Post, he stated the main advantage of a franchise is that the “name and logo serve as a beacon to customers”.

With brand protection such a vital issue in the digital world, it is “critically important” that franchisees leave themselves “immune from attack or infringement“. This is why Mr Finkelstein advises people to make sure they understand what trademarks are being licensed to them when they sign a disclosure document.

He noted that in Canada, trademark applications generally take around one year to be completed after they are sent off to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

“As a result, it should not come as a surprise that new or first-time franchisors may have only applied for their trademarks at the time someone first expresses an interest in becoming a franchisee,” Mr Finkelstein stated.

Indeed, while the registration process is ongoing, trademarks have very limited protection and so this is something that individuals need to factor into any branding decisions they take.

Franchisees should make sure any agreement they sign is watertight, the expert remarked. If the franchisor ever has to change trademarks or name – and this is a result of an infringement on someone else’s intellectual property – all of the costs incurred by the franchisee from the change should be the responsibility of the franchisor.

Mr Finkelstein’s comments highlight the importance that can be attached to brand reputation, as companies will struggle to forge an online presence without it.

Indeed, Brian Hong of Infintech Designs recently noted that logos play a big role in securing a brand, as it gives businesses a recognizable face and means people will have something to associate a firm with.

Rather than choosing the first logo on offer, organizations should take time to look at their options and see which one is best.

In the most recent issue of Trademarks, Brands & The Internet (TB&I) magazine, CSC Vice President Mark Calandra walks readers through a comprehensive strategy they can follow to defend and optimize the value of their intellectual property.

CSC is pleased to offer you complimentary access to Towards Better Brand Protection.

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