5 min
April 2, 2021

Examining Shareholders' Agreements

September 13, 2023

Starting, growing, and managing your business takes a lot of work. Take a look at any successful company out there and you’ll see that no one really was able to do it on their own!

A lot of people have to come together to make something worth having. Oh, and working together isn’t all sunshine and rainbows either– we’re all human, sometimes personalities get in the way and we all make mistakes. That’s why in business, having mechanisms in place to smooth out these relationships is all the more important.

Shareholders’ Agreements are legally binding documents that set out, among other things, what the individuals that have a stake in your business can and cannot do, are allowed and not allowed to do, and in addition to their responsibilities towards each other. It’s the central document that the company will reference when dealing with conflicts or major events. Pretty important stuff if you ask me!

In this blog post, we will go over the various kinds of terms you can have in a Shareholders’ Agreement and how they can have a huge impact on your business.

Why Have A Shareholder’s Agreement?

Investor and Shareholder Protection

If your business is starting to go through the motions and you realize that you’ll need outside financing to continue your expansion, there is a strong chance that anyone who has the cash to invest will want to look at your Shareholders’ Agreement. If you don’t have one, and you’re looking to get external financing, they’ll make sure to impose one to protect their investment.

Unanimous Shareholders' Agreements

What are they, and should I get one? Well, it's a little up in the air.

Essentially, a Unanimous Shareholders' Agreement (USA) is a specific type of Shareholders’ Agreement that is signed by every single shareholder at the time of inception and will bind future shareholders to the agreement whether or not they choose to sign. USA’s have the effect of removing much of the power from directors and officers that is normally given through legislation, onto the shareholders.

It effectively removes any separation that shareholders can be “passive” investors, taking up a controlling mantle in the business.

Normally, this would be bad for start-ups. USA’s make decision making a lot more rigid, and the document itself is hard to get rid of. Shareholders end up obtaining a fiduciary duty to the company and have very limited ways to escape that situation — shareholders cannot simply resign just like a director. Efficient decision-making will grind to a halt with a lot of shareholders and newcomers are automatically included in the pool, but new investors may not want to be a party to it.

Terms You May See

A majority of legal documents — Shareholders’ Agreements included — can be customized and tailored to the specifics of your business. Not every Shareholders’ Agreement will contain the terms we go over below, and not every term below may be in yours!

Share Issuance

Companies can issue new shares at any point so long as the appropriate parties vote in favour of the issue. Shares are typically issued when a corporation has to do another round of financing, and instead of going down the debt road, they decide to get other parties to buy stakes of the company. As a shareholder of said company, you may be wary that your investment might get diluted or otherwise unsavoury individuals may be sharing the same meetings as you.

Often, Shareholders’ Agreements will contain provisions that dictate the process in which new shares will be issued. Typically, if included in the Agreement, the existing shareholders may be able to exercise all kinds of rights like vetoes or pre-emptive rights to take up the financing round themselves instead of bringing in outside parties (eligible transferees).


Escrow provisions can be used to delay the issuance of shares, subject to a variety of conditions.

Shares are often used in place of compensation for many of the directors, officers, and senior employees of a corporation. To prevent a huge chunk of a company’s shares from vesting at one time upon vague benchmarks, a schedule will be set out as to what performance standards need to be met and to tranche the issuance of shares.

Usually, these terms will contain what you can do with shares that are in escrow (i.e., that haven’t been released to the individual yet), whether you can use it for loans, whether you can trade it, what rights (voting, dividends) you have attached to them, etc.

Rights, Duties, and Powers of Directors and Officers

Explicit provisions limiting the overall power of a director or officer will be more prevalent in Unanimous Shareholders’ Agreements, but regular Shareholders’ Agreements can also speak on the issue.

The spectrum can be quite extreme, ranging from a simple nod to the typical powers that Directors and Officers will have that is already laid out in Canadian law, to completely stripping their powers and issue them to shareholders. They can also affect the individual shareholders that may be entitled to vote on director and officer election protocols.

Control Provisions

These covenants are promises to do or refrain from doing something without shareholder consent. If you’re making decisions that require the approval of a certain percentage of shareholders that a Board of Directors can typically make on their own, it increases the chance of hold-up risks in decision-making.

Ideally, start-ups need to be as dynamic and flexible as possible, and control provisions go against that requirement. As a result, keeping the covenants to a minimum will free up a lot of capacity for pivots and crucial decision-making when it’s needed most. However, that isn’t to say they don’t belong at all in a Shareholders’ Agreement; confining them to certain areas like financing and raising debt is recommended. Additionally, a sunset provision in which the control provisions will expire while the rest of the agreement continues can be implemented as well.

Pre-Emptive Rights

Pre-emptive rights allow current shareholders to participate in future financing on a pro-rate basis with the number of shares they currently own. If new shares are being issued to a third party, that has the effect of diluting the percentage stake existing shareholders will have. Pre-emptive rights are a benefit to the existing shareholder and will likely be a key term to negotiate. These rights may be encompassed in the first topic covered, the issuance of new shares, or vice-versa.

When separating the founders of a business from the business itself, it is typically in the business's best interest to talk the founders out of holding such pre-emptive rights. Key investors that are necessary to grow and scale a business past the fledgeling stage may baulk when they see the amount of power that founders have. If as a founder, you are insisting on such clauses, having sunset provisions past a certain period of time, and preventing the use of third party money (banks) is often a solid middle ground.

Rights of First Refusal

These rights come into play when an existing shareholder who is a party to the Shareholders’ Agreement wants to sell their shares. ROFRs mandate that the selling shareholder has to first offer them to the other shareholders of the business before offering them to external parties. This has a similar effect of pre-emptive rights, in the way that protecting existing shareholders’ interests are the crux of most Shareholders’ Agreements.

While Rights of First Refusals make it difficult for the person to sell their shares, there are two types that you can consider in your agreement — a soft ROFR and a hard ROFR.

  • Hard: These mandate that the selling shareholder must first find a buyer at an ascertainable price, then offer the shares to the existing shareholders at that same price. This process takes a lot of time and money to value as start-ups are notoriously difficult to value, and no one is going to make a legitimate offer if it’s going to get snapped up by the other shareholders anyways.
  • Soft: These have a different process. First, the selling shareholder will inform the others that they intend to sell their shares to the open market and that the ROFR is triggered. The other shareholders have a few weeks (depending on the Agreement) to decide if they want to buy at a pre-determined price. If not, the selling shareholder is free to take their offer to external parties.

The problems with ROFRs are that they cause hold-up risks in the decision-making process, and depending on the type of ROFR you have, can effectively consolidate voting power to a small handful of individuals, and can cause shareholders to be trapped in situations in which exiting may not yield them a good return.

To mitigate the problem, some shareholders’ agreements allow shareholders to sell up until a particular threshold before a Right of First Refusal kicks in, allowing for freer transactions with smaller percentages of shares. Another mitigation tactic is similar to pre-emptive rights -don’t allow any third-party money to snap up any shares.

Piggyback / Tag-Along Rights

Piggyback or Tag-Along Rights are used in scenarios where if one shareholder wishes to sell their shares, the other shareholders can sell their shares to the same buyer on a pro-rata basis. This is done so that investors can have the opportunity to exit at the same time as other shareholders, particularly key players who may believe it is a good time to recoup their investment, or if the company isn’t doing as well as they want.

Obviously, this can cause major delays where shares are in a weird offering-limbo period where they may be purchased by an external party or not. Doubly so, depending on which shareholders would exercise their Piggyback Right, that could end up seeing an external party with a massive stake in the company. The provision can also cause delays if an investor is trying to recoup their investment as it is much more difficult to sell large portions of shares than a simple stake.

As a result, many shareholders’ agreements limit the individuals to who these Piggyback Rights will ay. Only key employees and individuals who are crucial to the success of the company should be able to trigger a Piggyback Right, as it is likely that investors bought into the company on the premise that there was a special talent, or the CEO was securing major financing. If that major financing didn’t work out, and the CEO is wanting to liquidate their shares, other shareholders should be able to do the same.

Drag-Along Rights

These rights have come into effect upon the sale or dissolution of a company. Drag-Along rights create investor exits even when there is < 90% approval of the sale – normally that is the threshold required for shareholder votes to approve the decision. If there is a particular begrudged individual who just happens to own a large chunk of the company’s outstanding stock and to cross the 90% threshold, you need their vote, Drag-Along rights will allow for the sale to happen even if the individual holds out.

The other side of the coin is that if you happen to be in the minority of the votes that get “dragged along”, and you don’t want to be a part of the sale or merger, it is important to note that protections can be included in the drag-along provisions. “Dissenter Valuation Rights” afford large protection to the existing shareholders that are in the voting minority. It allows shareholders to exit the company if they don’t want to be part of the merger at a fair market price for their shares.

However, like with most rights discussed in this post, the problem of these drag-along rights has the ability to potentially blow up deals if the shareholders who are being dragged along are warranted to be paid in cash. Often, the company may not have the reserves to finance such a transaction.

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1. Customized Solutions

One of the greatest benefits of a Fractional General Counsel is that they deeply understand your business. We work hard to match you with a lawyer who fits your company culture and budget, and who has relevant expertise. This ensures that you get tailored legal solutions that fit the overarching business objectives of your organization.

“We immediately realized the advantages and efficiencies — quick response times from someone embedded on our team who can channel our culture, vision and strategy in their decision making — at a fraction of the cost.” — Rob Park, Former COO at Helcim

2. Free Up Your Executive Team

Instead of spending hours trying to navigate complex legal landscapes, you can focus on what you do best: running your business. Just see how it helped the CEO of Trufla Technologies get his time back!

3. Cost-Effective

Hiring a full-time in-house lawyer can be expensive. A lawyer with 10 years of experience can easily demand $200,000 per year. A Fractional General Counsel provides you access to an experienced lawyer without the overhead of a full-time salary, benefits, and other associated costs.

4. Expertise On Demand

With Fractional General Counsel, you have access to experienced legal professionals without the friction of having to engage external counsel. Simply send them an email, text, Slack message, carrier pigeon or phone call - and get specialized advice when you need it.

“The openness, availability, and responsiveness that we have with our Fractional Counsel is something we never experienced with our previous legal provider.” — Jodie Allan, General Manager at PowerBill

5. Flexibility

FGC engagements are flexible in order to fit your needs. Scale their services up or down based on your business needs and budget. Best of all, you don't pay for the time you don't use. Unused hours are rolled forward for future use.

We are getting far more value from the Fractional General Counsel model than we have in the past with other legal service providers. The flexibility and accommodation to our business model and needs has been refreshing.” — Ryan Mueller, CEO of Phantom Compliance

6. Risk Management

Risk management is not just about avoiding legal troubles but also seizing opportunities. A Fractional General Counsel can help you take evidence-based strategic risks while giving you the confidence to adapt when the excrement hits the oscillating device. This approach can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.

7. Managing Specialized Counsel

Complex legal matters require specialized lawyers, leaving some businesses juggling multiple external providers. A Fractional General Counsel can identify, onboard, and supervise legal specialists and ensure they are billing you fairly. The shared language of lawyers makes it easy for an FGC to collaborate and guide external counsel on business objectives and broader context.

“We found that we had to deal with many different firms and lawyers, retelling our story repeatedly. With Goodlawyer, it’s all under one roof… It frees me up and saves us money.” — Mike Bignold, Founder & CEO of CostCertified

8. Stay Updated

Laws and regulations change. A Fractional General Counsel ensures you stay compliant and informed about the latest legal changes that could affect your business. They can also help you predict future changes and skate to where the puck is going.

9. Seamless Integration

A Fractional General Counsel is integrated into your business operations, ensuring smooth collaboration with your team and stakeholders. Many function like any other team member, with a company email and title like General Counsel or VP of Legal. They can be a trusted voice at the boardroom table and represent your interests at the negotiating table.

It’s been a huge load off my busy plate, and I love the peace of mind knowing our Fractional Counsel is guiding my team and me at critical moments.” — Brenda Beckedorf, Former Executive Director at Alberta IoT

10. A Trusted Advisor

Beyond legal advice, a Fractional General Counsel often serves as a sounding board for business decisions, providing a well-rounded perspective that combines both legal and business insights. FGCs typically have 10+ years of expertise relevant to your industry. They understand your sector, competitors, regulators, and other stakeholders who can be key to your growth journey.


A Fractional General Counsel is not just for businesses that can't afford a full-time lawyer. It's for businesses that want to free up their executive team with a responsive, trusted, and cost-effective legal solution. It's about having a tailored legal solution that provides on-demand access to someone who truly understands your business.

Learn more about Fractional Counsel

10 Reasons To Hire A Fractional General Counsel
August 28, 2023

Business growth inevitably brings legal complexities. With your business speeding towards success, you're considering the transition from relying on external counsel to building your in-house legal function. But is hiring a full-time lawyer the right move? Or is there a more flexible, cost-effective solution? Let us introduce you to the concept of Fractional General Counsel (FGC).

FGC is an in-house legal solution tailored to your needs. Fractional General Counsel aren’t full-time employees. Typically they work 15-30 hours per month; but they're there when you need them. They manage your operational legal needs at a volume and monthly price that makes sense for your business. 

These legal professionals are a godsend for scaleups and fast-moving enterprise clients. They serve as your in-house legal team and tackle everything from enterprise contracts, employment and HR to corporate governance. The result is often a freed-up executive team, reduced risk and increased deal velocity.

In-house vs. external legal support

Your business's relationship with your Fractional General Counsel is fundamentally different from an external legal provider (i.e. a traditional law firm). While an external legal provider offers valuable expertise, they often don’t have the same depth of understanding of your business, your risk tolerance, or your objectives. They can also be less responsive than you might like — especially when it comes to your day-to-day operational legal needs like commercial contracts, regulatory compliance and employment matters.

External legal service providers are often unresponsive because they’re focused on major legal milestones like financings and M&A transactions, so they can be slower to respond to operational legal matters. 

"There's a reason that every large enterprise eventually builds an in-house legal team — to ensure their legal work is dealt with quickly, cost-effectively, and in tune with the overarching business objectives of the organization. That last piece, deeply understanding the business, is perhaps the greatest benefit of having an in-house legal function," says Brett Colvin, co-founder and CEO of Goodlawyer.

Fractional General Counsel do much more than just fill a void; they quickly become integral members of your executive team, saving you time and money, and adding a business lens to the legal problems you face on a daily basis. They integrate into your operations by adopting a company email, joining your Slack, or using whatever communication tool works best for your team. They can also design processes to speed up your legal processes. 

Many scaleups rely on Fractional General Counsel to manage the fast-paced operational legal needs and retain their external counsel on certain matters, particularly milestone events like funding rounds or M&As. In such cases, the FGC and external counsel can coexist and even become greater than the sum of their parts. The shared language of lawyers makes it easy for FGCs to collaborate and guide external counsel on business objectives and broader context.

The value proposition of Fractional General Counsel

Patrick Veilleux, a Fractional General Counsel at Goodlawyer, exemplifies the value of an FGC. Following five successful years at Shopify as Director of Legal, and stints on Bay Street and with the federal government, Veilleux missed the thrill of working with fast-growing Canadian scaleups. So in 2023, he joined Goodlawyer’s FGC ranks.

In Patrick’s words, "Being a Fractional Counsel enables me to provide sophisticated scaleup clients with both legal and strategic insights. The opportunity to be at the table during critical planning sessions empowers me to identify risks and opportunities proactively and help my clients chart the best path forward. It's also been incredibly rewarding to leverage my past experiences to help support some of the most exciting technology businesses in the country.”

5 Reasons why your business needs Fractional General Counsel

  1. Tailored Arrangement: FGC allows you to design the scope, cadence and volume of legal support. Engagements are customized to your needs to best address pain points and capitalize on opportunities. Alignment with your company’s culture is imperative, and Goodlawyer allows you to meet and interview candidates to ensure the right fit. 
  2. Specialized Expertise: FGCs typically have 10+ years of legal expertise and specific knowledge relevant to your industry. They understand your sector, your competitors, your regulators, and other stakeholders who can be key to your growth journey. 
  3. Freed-up Executives: CEOs, CFOs, and COOs often find themselves responsible for their organization’s legal function, spending valuable time managing external counsel and deciphering what is (and isn’t) in a contract. A Fractional General Counsel becomes your dedicated internal legal lead, freeing up executives and ensuring more efficient resource allocation.
  4. Agile and Cost-Effective: Full-time in-house counsel brings substantial commitment and costs – salaries, benefits, office space, administrative burden and more. By contrast, FGC engagements offer a stable fee structure and immediate value. 
  5. Scalable: As your business grows, you can easily scale the engagement to match your expanding needs. Increase the monthly hours of your Fractional General Counsel, or add a Fractional In-House Counsel. If you find your needs reduced, engagements can be downsized.

Navigating toward Fractional General Counsel

Want to learn whether Fractional General Counsel might suit your business? Click the button below to set up a conversation with a senior member of the Goodlawyer team. We'll explore your legal requirements, analyze your annual legal budget, and determine if you need industry specialists or senior legal expertise. Our team will also introduce you to vetted candidates tailored to your business. A pilot engagement can allow you to gauge the efficacy of this model for your growing business.


With the dynamism of your scaleup and the legal intricacies that come with growth, it's essential to have legal counsel who understands your business and can respond quickly to your needs. The value lies in your FGC’s ability to provide both legal and strategic insights, like a dedicated in-house team, but at a fraction of the cost. Explore Goodlawyer's Fractional General Counsel services and discover how this innovative legal solution could boost your scaleup's journey.

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Fractional General Counsel: legal support for scaling businesses
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 Ready to embark on a thrilling solo adventure as a Canadian lawyer? Buckle up friend, the legal world is about to get a whole lot brighter! Whether you're bidding adieu to a big traditional firm, an in-house gig, or even the government, taking the leap into solo practice requires some serious planning and preparation. But fear not, for we've gathered the top 10 tips from seasoned Goodlawyer’s who have taken over the Canadian legal landscape on their own terms. So, let's dive into what is hopefully a delightful dose of inspiration!

Tip 1: Embrace the Art of Frugality

Who said you need fancy, overpriced resources to thrive? Seek out affordable gems that suit your working style — think budget-friendly practice management and billing software, administrative support (virtual and/or fractional options), and nifty tools to keep your inbox and calendar in check. By keeping your overhead costs low and increasing the efficiency of your practice, you'll have extra funds to sprinkle into growth.

Cheat code: if you’re interested in a one-stop shop for legal operations support, Goodlawyer offers all this and more to its lawyer network!

Tip 2: Let Your Personality Sparkle

Clients aren't just interested in legal services; they want someone they can relate to. So, be your fabulous, authentic self! Show off your approachable side, build those personal connections, and watch your clients swoon. When you're real and relatable, trust and loyalty will come knocking at your door. If the client still isn’t interested, keep calm and lawyer on; chances are high you’ve dodged what would’ve been a misaligned relationship!

Tip 3: Unleash Your Legal Swagger

Picture this: you, standing proud, armed with a unique value proposition in one hand, a clear understanding of the services you offer in the other, and a laser-focused target market as your sword and your shield. It's time to create your own legal destiny! Craft a compelling position statement that sets you apart from the pack and attracts the right clients and the work you love like moths to a legal flame. You're a lawyering superstar, after all!

Tip 4: Befriend the Big Guns

Now, here's a secret sauce to success — forge connections with other lawyers far and wide, whether from your previous legal world or in your new solo practitioner/small firm world!

These relationships can be your golden ticket to referrals and increased visibility in the legal community. Attend events and conferences, and hop into online groups to meet fellow legal eagles in and out of your field. It's like building your very own legal Avengers team!

Easy button: Goodlawyer gives you access to a highly engaged and supportive network of other Goodlawyers ready to help whether you need a second opinion, precedents, legal tech suggestions to level up, or a calming meditative playlist!

Tip 5: Master the Number Crunching Dance

As a solo practitioner, you're the captain of your financial ship. So, it's time to dust off your accounting superhero gear and conquer those financial statements with relish. This is a must for smooth sailing on the ethical and legal seas! Embrace the numbers, avoid ever-present financial whirlpools, and become the guiding star of your own financial destiny.

Tip 6: Love Yourself Enough to Say "No"

Not every potential client is a match made in legal heaven, my friend. Watch for those red flags and gracefully decline clients who might bring more chaos than harmony to your practice. Trust your spidey senses and your past experiences. Remember, your time, effort, and reputation are highly precious gems, so align and re-align these gems with the clients you choose to work with. You deserve the cream of the client crop!

Tip 7: Save Up for the Legal Storms

In the variable world of solo practice, income can be as unpredictable as a tea party with the Mad Hatter. So, it's time to save up for those rainy days. Start with a modest salary and squirrel away three months' worth of savings. Then, gradually increase your pay until you have a comfortable cushion of six months' worth of savings. Rain or shine, you're ready for anything the legal universe sends your way!

Tip 8: Don't Compromise Your Legal Integrity

When the cash flow slows down, the temptation might knock on your door, urging you to take on clients and matters you'd usually pass on. But hold your ground, dear lawyer! Only accept clients and matters that match your values and that you would handle even if money were falling from the sky. Stay true and be authentic to your legal soul, and success will follow suit.

Tip 9: Give Yourself a License to Chill

Building a thriving solo practice that suits your life and practice goals takes time. So, be kind to yourself on this epic journey. Start by working from the comfort of your own space until you're ready to set yourself up in a fancy office; not only are you avoiding the extra overhead and expense, but you might fall in love with a whole new way of working! Embrace the wonders of legal tech to keep your clients happy without the hassle of office visits and to avoid the gargantuan email chains just to schedule a call. Cheers to working smarter, not harder!

Tip 10: Be the Tax Maestro

Ah, taxes — the bane of every lawyer's (and human’s) existence! If you're not drawing a regular salary, maybe you can tango with quarterly taxes in Canada. Put aside one-third of every payment into a separate savings account, dedicated solely to the taxman. With this little trick up your sleeve, you'll breeze through tax season like a pro, avoiding any unwanted legal drama.

And voilà! You now possess the top 10 tips to conquer the Canadian legal world as a solo practitioner. Sprinkle them into your journey, dear legal trailblazer, and watch your practice soar to new heights. Wishing you endless success and all of the professional fun you can have in your marvelous solo adventure!

Get started with Goodlawyer

Journey of a Solo Practitioner
June 16, 2023

Conducting a trademark search is a crucial step in creating an identity for a business to operate in Canada. A trademark search will help you determine if a similar or identical trademark already exists. Setting up your business branding without checking existing trademarks opens you up to the risk of using another trademarked identity which results in wasted time, money, and possible legal complications.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a type of intellectual property that provides legal protection for a brand or logo used by a person or business to distinguish their goods or services from others in the marketplace. It is a recognizable sign, symbol, design, word, phrase, or combination of these elements. Trademarks play a crucial role in business by establishing brand recognition, reputation, and consumer trust. They help consumers identify and differentiate between products or services ensuring they are getting what they expect from a particular brand.

Starting your Trademark Search with CIPO

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) online database search will be the most up-to-date source for trademarks in Canada. The CIPO Online Database Search allows you to search the Canadian Trademarks Database, which contains registered and pending trademarks in Canada. Visit the CIPO website and access the Canadian Trademarks Database ( to get started.

  1. Start with a broad search: Begin with a general search using keywords or phrases that closely relate to your proposed trademark.
  2. Narrow down the search: Once you have identified similar trademarks, refine your search using more specific terms related to your goods or services. This will provide a clearer picture of any potential conflicts.
  3. Check different categories of marks: Search for similar trademarks in all relevant categories related to your goods or services. More information on the different categories is available here:  
  4. Review variations: Consider searching for variations of your proposed trademark, including misspellings, phonetic equivalents, and plurals. These variations may still be considered confusingly similar.

Common Law Trademark Search

Common law trademarks are those adopted and used without registration, and their owners can claim reputation and goodwill to prevent others from using or registering a similar mark. After conducting your search in the trademarks databases, it is important to conduct a common law search to check if any businesses are using a similar mark without registration. These common law rights are limited to the geographical areas where the mark is being used.

To search for common law trademarks, consider checking local business listings in the areas of intended trademark use. Conducting a search for business name registrations can provide insights into similar marks within your province. Checking for claimed domain names with various extensions (.com, .ca, .org, etc.) can also help assess potential conflicts.

Furthermore, search the web and social media platforms for businesses or goods/services associated with confusingly similar names and marks. This broader search can uncover additional potential obstacles or conflicts.

Conducting a common law search is important to assess potential conflicts beyond registered trademarks and ensure your proposed mark does not infringe on existing rights or create confusion in the marketplace.

Analyzing Trademark Search Results & Next Steps

After conducting your CIPO search and completing a common law search, carefully review the results to identify any potentially conflicting trademarks. Look for marks that are similar in terms of name, appearance, sound, or meaning.

If you encounter potentially conflicting trademarks or are unsure about the search results, it is advisable to consult with a trademark lawyer or agent. They can provide expert guidance and help you make an informed decision about the availability and registrability of your trademark. While conducting your own trademark search is very valuable, it is not a substitute for professional legal advice. A trademark professional can ensure your proposed trademark is adequately protected.

Working with a Trademark Professional for your Search

It is highly recommended to consult a trademark lawyer or registered trademark agent during the process of selecting a business name and trademark. They can conduct thorough searches, assess availability, and provide guidance before you invest in branding efforts. If the desired mark is unavailable, they can assist in finding an available and distinctive alternative. A trademark professional is also well suited to assist with more complicated situations, like when a trademark is intended to be used across multiple jurisdictions.

Engaging a trademark professional early in these situations can help ensure informed decision-making, allow for smoother and more likely-to-succeed trademark applications, and avoid potential conflicts or infringements which can lead to costly delays, loss of goodwill if you have to rebrand, and legal complications.

As a savvy entrepreneur, you know the branding of your business is a critical asset for your future success. Preventing problems is cheaper than correcting them; handle your trademark with the gravitas it deserves!

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How to Complete a Trademark Search in Canada
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