When your target audience cannot pick out your product in the crowd, they will be more inclined to go to your competitor’s side, especially if they have done a better job at ensuring they stand out.
One way of making your brand stand out in the market is to protect your packaging from duplication or imitation by registering its design, images,and name. The most applicable intellectual property (IP) rights protection for packaging is trademarks and copyrights.
This guide explores everything you need to know about protecting your packaging IP rights in Canada.
What Are Trademarks?
A trademark in packaging refers to signs or a combination used to distinguish one product from others in the market. Trademarks can include texts, images, and modes of packaging.
Registering any packaging elements gives you a legal right to them just as a title deed would to a piece of property.
There are two main trademarks; the ordinary trademark and a certification mark. Ordinary trademarks cover the element mentioned earlier, such as texts, images and colors for packaging.
Other elements covered under original trademarks include sounds, holograms, three-dimensional shapes, scents, tastes, sounds, or a combination of these elements. On the other hand, a certification mark is a trademark that can be licensed to many entities to show that the product has met a specific standard.
An excellent example of a certification trademark is Woolmark design. Woolmark Americas, LTD owns the original trademark for Woolmark design. Still, it is used by thousands of other companies dealing with wool products that have met a specific standard in the quality of their products.
What Are Copyrights?
Most people see copyright as something applicable to artistic creations such as songs, videos, drawings, photographs, etc. The truth is that copyright includes any original creation, such as packaging.
Regarding packaging, you can register copyrights for your product’s packaging graphics, symbols, and name, meaning no one can use the same for their products. However, these elements must not be similar to any products in the market. Copyrights protection to original works in Canada lasts for a lifetime and extends 50 years after the creator dies.
Industrial Packaging Designs Copyrights
If your packaging is original, you could also register its design. Copyrighting an industrial design protects tangible things such as shape, pattern, configuration, ornaments, or any combination of these elements.
Unlike copyright for works of art that last through the author’s lifetime, industrial design protections last for only ten years. To register an industrial design for your packaging, you must first consider two key points.
The design is original
To have your product get copyright protection for its industrial design, it must not closely resemble any other in the market in its design, including its form and feel. If a design looks reasonably similar through the eyes of an average person, it cannot be deemed original.
The purpose of the design
Industrial design protection only applies to aspects of the design that are for ascetics, such as shape. Other aspects such as how the packaging works, how it is made, and the materials used are not protected.
Where to Register
When registering your intellectual property in Canada, you must apply with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, which will issue you an IP certificate if your application goes through the process and is approved.
This process can be somewhat complicated, so getting the help of a lawyer would be a good idea. Even without registering your trademark or copyrights, you still have a right to challenge the use of your intellectual property. However, the process would be way more complicated and have fewer chances of succeeding than if you have your packaging IP certificates.