Canada’s wordmark needs protection, according to the Treasury Board of Canada. The Treasury Board works hard at protecting trademarks of Canada. As I’ve mentioned before, trademark owners need to protect their intellectual property.

The Government of Canada is no different from any other trademark owner. The Canada wordmark conveys a trusted brand. If the government were to allow just anyone to use or compromise that image, the Canada brand would suffer. It’s similar to the Olympic trademark issues faced by the Vancouver Olympic Committee.

Canada is pretty clear about its trademark guidelines, having produced a full manual, policy and other materials. When I worked for Citizenship and Immigration’s Communications Branch, an in-house graphic designer gave me a full briefing on use of the Crown’s marks. Signs, stationery, marketing materials — the government has a policy for everything.

But it’s not just the government that comes up with intellectual property guidelines. Most of the mid-sized firms for which I’ve worked have had trademark and logo usage guidelines — and I’ve been charged with managing those properties. You’d think managing a logo is easy, but it’s always a challenge to keep people from making small changes that add up. For example, your corporate trainer may add a graduation cap to the mascot in your corporate logo. The trainer passes this logo to the technical writer, who adds a shield and a witty slogan. Although it’s great to see people taking ownership of the corporate image, it’s important to standardize and, above all else, protect those assets so that they can stand up in any legal disputes with external users of your logo. It comes down to finesse and communication, all in the name of trademark protection.

(c) 2006 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.