As Canadians grow increasingly mindful of nutrition, as well as the way their food is produced and packaged, businesses are seizing opportunities in the field. At the forefront of the organic snacks industry is PRANA, a Montréal-based Canadian company selling organic vegan snacks.
The founders of PRANA, Alon Farber and Marie-Josée Richer, got the inspiration for the company's name while travelling in India in the early 2000s. PRANA means "vital energy" in Sanskrit. Farber and Richer thought this was the perfect name to represent their company, which prides itself on the sustainability and wholesomeness of its products.
Since its humble beginnings in 2005, PRANA has grown into a business that balances social purpose and commercial profit (it is known as a B Corp certified company) with more than 100 employees. Its products can be found in all major grocery stores across Canada and the United States, and in parts of Europe.
Flying high with registered trademarks
PRANA's founders moved swiftly to obtain intellectual property (IP) protection for their brand name, even before the company grew in popularity. Farber applied for PRANA's first trademark in 2010. Now, the company owns 6 trademarks in Canada.
"Having trademarked the brand name early on gave us the peace of mind for the company's future because I knew that no one else could take credit for what PRANA would achieve."
Indeed, PRANA has achieved much more than becoming an average organic snacks company. PRANA is not only selling sustainable snacks; it is also encouraging customers to make informed, sustainable food choices and pass their knowledge on to the people in their social networks. In August 2018, The Globe and Mail featured PRANA in an article about healthy foods, recognizing PRANA's commitment to the environment and to being a leader in the "snacktivism" movement. PRANA aims to make "snacktivism" easy and accessible by providing tips and recipes on its website and social media platforms.
With so many exciting initiatives on the go, PRANA prefers to focus its resources on its business, and enlists IP professionals to ensure its IP is protected. Since its first registered trademark, PRANA has been working with a law firm that has helped the company file 5 trademarks in Canada, 5 in the United States and 2 in Europe. The law firm also monitors the marketplace for copycats and is prepared to battle any case of trademark infringement in the courts.
What PRANA has to say about IP
- Apply early: this will save you a lot of trouble for when your company grows bigger.
- Be smart about what you protect: try to protect things that are representative of your company, such as brand names, logos, slogans and products in which you invest a lot of money.
- Consult a law firm when you have the resources to do so.