How to Buy a Trademark

August 7, 2020

 

Can I Buy a Trademark

A good, no a great trademark should be both original and distinctive. In other words, it should be unique and help your company stand out from the crowd. Think Xerox, Verizon, Kodak, Exxon and think about why these are such great brands.  One of the reasons is because these terms are what we in the trademark business like to call “coined”. Coined terms are great trademarks because the chances are nobody else is using them. 

However, not everyone can be a Xerox. One of the major challenges of marketing departments and entrepreneurs everywhere is coming up with an original and distinct name, it is an art unto itself, and many entrepreneurs realize too late that creating an original, on-brand trademark is harder than they thought. It isn’t uncommon for a company to brainstorm for a long time, eventually find a term they feel is absolutely perfect, only discover at the end of the process that the trademark they chose has already been chosen by someone else and that someone else has already protected that name with a trademark registration. 

Sometimes, although rare, a company may inquire about buying a registered trademark from the owner.  This is not an easy task and, depending on the reputation, length of time in use and other factors, the asking price of such an acquisition may be astronomical. That’s where companies like ours come in. The team at Trademark Depot have 20 years of combined experience in the trademarking field, and can put that knowledge to use, helping your company understand the process and guiding you every step of the way. If you want to buy a trademark, we know how.

However, before moving forward, it is important to understand what a trademark is, and why it is so important to register your trademark before anyone else. 

What is a Trademark, and Why is it Important?

The first thing to know is that a trademark can be a word, symbol, design, slogan or logo (or any combination thereof) that is used to indicate the source of the goods and/or services you provide. 

A trademark registration will grant you the exclusive right to use your trademark across the entire  country in which it has been registered. More importantly, it allows you to take legal action to stop anyone else from using your name or any name that can be considered confusing with yours. 

Imagine a case in which you have been using a word, symbol, design, slogan or logo or any other distinctive representation to represent your business, but haven’t made a trademark application or secured a trademark registration, because “you’ve been meaning to get to it” or “it’s not that important”. Now imagine someone else comes along at a later date and registers a trademark for an identical or very similar name. Now, all of the time, money and energy you’ve invested in building your name, brand and reputation, may be for nothing. Although, you have secured “Common Law” rights in your brand, proving these rights is extremely difficult and very expensive. A trademark registration is an assumed right and thus much easier to prove. 

In fact, if you haven’t taken the time to verify that the name you chose is available before moving forward with your company, you might find yourself forced to change it at a later date. This means you risk having to change your entire brand to be compliant within the law, removing labels from products, business cards, from your website – from everywhere. It’s a process that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars or more. It could even destroy your entire business. 

There is no valid reason to take this kind of a risk. 

I Already Have a Business Name. Do I Need a Trademark?

The first thing to know is that there is a difference between a Business Name and a Trademark. It’s such an important distinction that we already wrote a blog post about it. What it boils down to is this: only a registered trademark can provide you with the protection you need to use your name in connection with your business’s goods and services. 

So the answer is yes. You absolutely need a trademark. 

How Can I Buy a Trademark?

As mentioned above, coming up with an original name, logo, design, slogan, etc. can be a difficult process. More importantly, even if you come up with an original idea you love and no one has registered the trademark yet, the registration process still takes time, and is not as straightforward as one may think. 

While the experts at Trademark Depot will be happy to register an original trademark for you, buying an existing trademark has the advantage of getting you what you want right away. But keep in mind, buying an existing trademark is also a very complicated process. To make sure it’s done right, you want to make sure you have a group of experts guiding you. 

For example, the rules for buying a trademark are different in Canada and the U.S. Being cognizant of those rules is crucial. If you want to do business in both countries, you’ll need to conform to the laws of both countries in order to be protected. You’ll be expected to know the difference between a “trademark assignment” and a “trademark license.” You’ll need to know the requirements related to the purchase of a company’s “goodwill,” which is another term for the reputation the group has built over time. 

According to Section 48 of the Trademark Act, a trademark may be transferred in Canada with or without the goodwill of the business and in respect to some or all goods or services. But in the U.S., purchasing an existing trademark requires you to also buy the product line, the assets of the company, or the entire business associated with the company you’re buying it from, including the goodwill. If you don’t pay attention to this kind of minutiae, you might get yourself in trouble. 

There is also the consideration related to the “intent to use.” Trademark applications based on “intent to use” cannot be assigned to another entity prior to use, which is why it is preferable to file any applications under the name of the entity that will sell the products or services in question, and not under the name of individuals. 

Confused yet? Most people are.

You Need an Expert

Because there are literally dozens of other rules and regulations that apply to a variety of situations, and because each company’s circumstances are different, it is always advisable that you consult an expert before moving forward with such an important step. We can help with your US and Canadian trademark searches, we can help you secure ownership of trademark registration in Canadian and anywhere else on the globe you may do business. We have an entire menu of options to choose from.

Give us a quick call or send us an email, as Trademark Depot offers no-obligation consultations, with absolutely no fees. We’ll be able to address your questions head-on and steer you in the right direction depending on your specific, unique situation. It’s highly likely that if you do, we’ll save you a good amount of time, money and frustration. 

Whether you need help searching available brands for sale, available logos for sale, or if you want to purchase a trademark, there is only one choice. Trademark Depot. You’re Known For It, Own It! Get in touch with us today!

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Written by

Jamie Bashtanyk

CEO/Trademark Agent

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