If you are considering the steps that you need to take to protect your intellectual property, you are better off taking them sooner rather than later. There are definite drawbacks to waiting too long or even waiting at all. Not only does it keep someone else from taking what you worked hard to build, but it also has definite benefits for your business.
Patent Trolls Can Beat You to the Punch and Cost You Lots of Money
In Canada, the 2019 changes to the Trademarks Act made it much easier for patent trolls and squatters to register for your intellectual property ahead of you. Trademark registrants are no longer required to show actual use in order to register a trademark. Now, they can simply register what they think others may need to in the future so they can make money. We cannot overstate how the new trademark laws have increased the need for very early trademark registration.
These changes mean that trolls will expect you to pay them to use what would otherwise be your own intellectual property. There are countless trolls who spend their days mining. What is a money-making opportunity for them can be a nightmare for you. This is only part of why you need to register your intellectual property from the outset in Canada.
Protect Your Intellectual Property Early So You Can Use It
If you do not act to protect your intellectual property, you may not even be able to use it at all. Someone else may get the rights to your hard work. The trademark process is how you can take action to rightfully stake your claim to the time, money, and effort that have been put into your own idea. Your intellectual property is the cornerstone of your company, and you may not even be able to operate without it.
The sooner you are able to register and protect your intellectual assets, the more of an advantage you can gain over your competitors. Someone else could be trying to occupy the same exact space and you, and the intellectual property system can protect you so long as you protect yourself first.
The fact is that the Canadian economy has only grown more competitive over time. Trade secrets are always at risk, and numerous people are often pursuing similar inventions. “Borrowing” someone else’s acumen is unfortunately too common. The sooner you move to protect your own hard work, the better of a chance that you can keep this from happening. Even before you are in a position to sell your product, you should have already locked up your rights to the IP.
The Process of Protecting Your IP in Canada Takes Time
Another fact about the Canadian trademark system is that applications take their share of time and then some. Whether this is because there are not enough examiners or other things built into the system to slow things down, the trademark registration process can take up to two years to complete. Thus, there is really no quick way to register a trademark in Canada.
Accordingly, it is vital to begin the process at the very first possible moment. At least you can get the registration started and become first in line for your own intellectual property, even if approval is going to take some time. The trademark registration may take even longer if someone else files an opposition to your proposed trademark. Canada allows others 60 days, and sometimes longer, to file an opposition. This makes early registration critical.
The Sooner You Protect Your IP, the Sooner You Can Monetize It
Your intellectual property becomes part of the value of your business literally and figuratively. It can be reflected as goodwill on your balance sheet. The earlier you can secure the legal rights to your trademarks, the quicker your business valuation can grow. This is important if your company is considering a corporate transaction or obtaining financing.
If you are selling all or part of the company, trademarks can drastically increase your company’s business valuation. Businesses that are looking for financing can point to tangible assets that back their company, making it easier for banks to agree to lend money. Once you have the intellectual property rights, you can even make money by licensing your idea or technology.
If you are considering whether to act to protect your intellectual property, your first call should be to an IP lawyer in Toronto to learn about the process. The intellectual property system rewards the first person in, so you should make sure that it is you.
An experienced attorney can educate you about what you need to do and can assist you in safeguarding your IP. You should be able to profit from your own innovation without worrying about getting pushed off the ground that you worked hard to gain.