Jihene Jouini and Vicky Mansharamani, founders of 100 Global Inc. know that being concerned about the environment is a global movement. They also know that our planet is rich with sustainable resources that can help people make better choices. One such resource is bamboo. It grows faster than most trees and in places where many other plants can't.
As COVID-19 swept across Canada and the toilet-paper-frenzy started, Jihene and Vicky saw an opening. They wanted to offer consumers a choice to make an impact across North America: 100% bamboo toilet paper.
Jihene and Vicky quickly seized their opportunity. "While we had started ordering and packaging, we looked for funding to grow. Futurpreneur (an organization that supports aspiring business owners) seemed like a great option for us," remembers Vicky. So, they filled in the forms and got their loan application approved.
Creating informal intellectual property
The first entrepreneurial steps were taken by getting some informal intellectual property (IP) assets.
They incorporated their company 100 Global Inc. And, although it's not a formal IP right issued by the IP office, they registered the domain name www.urollup.com as well. They also started to build valuable know-how, found a supplier and built a distribution chain to reach households, businesses and retailers.
Jihene and Vicky knew that to be successful in the marketplace, they needed to create a unique brand.
Vicky explains, "the brand is an important identifier and a way to distinguish ourselves in the marketplace. It's something competitors can't imitate. Developing a brand for our future growth was important. We wanted people to connect the dots between our brand and mission. We want people to know that Roll Up is sustainable."
100 Global Inc. is their company's legal name, but Jihene and Vicky do business as Roll Up. That's why they decided to apply for trademark registration for that name. They learned about trademarks online and then filed their own application.
Roll Up toilet paper has designed its own wrapping. On the company's website, there are photos and other designs. Generally, this kind of original work is automatically protected by copyright the moment it is created. Registration is optional and can be used in court as evidence that you own a copyright. It is also recommended in case you need to ask the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to stop copies of your copyright entering or leaving Canada.
Jihene and Vicky's next plans are to begin with manufacturing and to continue growing the business from there. "It's still a trade secret but we're investigating ways to protect our invention with formal IP rights so that nobody can challenge us for at least a few years."
Trade secrets are a form of instant, automatic protection. Unlike for some other types of IP, there is no formal process for protecting a trade secret. Instead, companies rely on different ways to keep valuable business information confidential. Vicky shares some important insights regarding IP:
"IP can be a grey area for start-ups. Futurpreneur helped us by putting us in contact with mentors and IP professionals. They helped us understand the cost and application process. It's no secret: the first step is hard. This is when you search for what has already been invented. But it needs to be done, not just to make sure my invention is new, but to make sure I'm not using someone else's invention."
- Before you file a Canadian patent application
- Trademarks guide – what trademarks are, how they can benefit you and your organization, and why registration is important
- Learn about trade secrets and trade secret theft
- Learn the basics about copyright
- A corporate name is different from a trademark or domain name. Owning a domain name does not automatically mean that it can be your corporate name. Learn about naming a corporation.
- Learn how the CBSA supports the fight against counterfeit and pirated goods entering or leaving Canada
Let us help you with IP! Contact the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.