Trademark Registrations Canada - Frequently Asked Questions
What’s a “trademark”?
A trademark is a word or design which is used to distinguish the products and/or services of one person, company or organization from those of its competitors.
What’s the difference between a “word” and a “design”?
A word may comprise one word (“Panasonic”) or a series of words (“Panasonic ideas for life”). A design or logo comprises graphic elements and may be used in combination with a word or series of words.
Is my company name a trademark?
A company name is the legal name under which a company carries on business and, unless it is used as a trademark, it cannot be registered under the Trademarks Act. For example:
- Acme Insurance Ltd. markets life insurance under “Goodlife Insurance”. Acme is the company name, “Goodlife” the trademark. “Acme” is not used as a trademark, “Goodlife” is.
- Acme Insurance Ltd. markets life insurance under “Acme Life”. “Acme” is part of its company name, but it is also used as a trademark to distinguish its policies from those of other insurers. However, the fact that Acme Insurance is “incorporated” does not mean that “Acme” is also protected as a trademark. The two processes are distinct, and the trademark must be registered separately.
What’s the benefit of registering my trademark?
Trademarks provide the registered owner with exclusive use of the trademark throughout Canada for a period of 15 years. Other benefits include:
- creating an image of the quality of your products and/or services
- enhancing the goodwill and value of your business
- licensing your trademark through franchising arrangements
- preventing your competitors from registering trademarks which are confusing with your trademark
When can I register my trademark?
At any time. Registrations may be based on your use of your trademark or on your “intention” to use your trademark. However, to avoid the expense of marketing an unregistrable trademark, and to establish the priority of your trademark, it should be registered as soon as possible.
What is the process for registering a trademark in Canada?
The process is as follows:
- an application for registration is “filed” with the Trademarks Office
- the application is reviewed or “examined” by the Trademarks Office to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Canadian Trademarks Act
- the application is approved for “advertisement” in the Trademarks Journal which is “published” weekly
- a two month period from the date of publication of the Trademarks Journal is allowed to permit any other party to challenge the application (commonly on the grounds that it is confusing with their trademark)
- the application is “allowed” (if there is no challenge)
- a Certificate of Registration is issued for the trademark
How long does the registration process take?
Approximately 8 to 10 months from the time of application to the issuance of a Certificate of Registration.
How long is a trademark protected?
Trademarks provide the registered owner with exclusive use of the trademark throughout Canada for a period of 15 years. Trademarks can be renewed every 15 years on payment of a renewal fee.