How to Register a Trademark in Canada

A trademark can be anything that makes the services or goods of business entities distinguishable – a word, a logo, packaging design, etc. Trademarks indicate that certain services or goods have been produced from a unique source. In order for such a trademark to be officially recognized, it has to be properly registered first. A trademark often represents a company’s reputation with its customers, and is therefore regarded a valuable intellectual property.

Common Law and Ownership
In Canada, it is not strictly required to register a trademark in order to have rights over it. Common law ensures that using a trademark for a certain period of time grants ownership with limited rights, which are only valid in the geographic area where the trademark was used. In order to gain full exclusive rights over your trademark (including legal protection from infringement), registration is a necessary step.

Legal Considerations
The best way to protect a trademark from imitation or misuse is to possess a proof of ownership. Naturally, the best way to accomplish that is to register it. You have to keep in mind that the trademark will receive a legal form of protection only on the territory of Canada. In order to extend your ownership rights into other countries, the trademark should be registered there too, following the respective regulations and procedures required under domestic legislation.

Check Trademark for Similarity
Before starting the process toward registration, it would be wise to make sure that there aren’t any other registered trademarks,which are too similar to the unregistered one. Such similarity could be interpreted as infringement and will make the registration process impossible. Of course, the Trademarks Office will perform their own research to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest. They will also assess if the applying trademark is clearly descriptive or potentially misdirecting, and if the wares and services it describes conform to the commercial regulations in the country.

Submission for Advertisement
If everything is in order, the applicant is approved and submitted for advertisement. The trademark information is made public in a journal. At this point, other parties may raise objections if they deem the applicant trademark to be easily confused with an already existing one. The registration process cannot continue until the proceedings are finished, with all conflicts of interest being settled. The advertisement phase has a duration of two months. If everything is in order after this period, the applicant is finally allowed to register his trademark.

Renewal of Trademark
The trademark registration remains in force for a period of 15 years, after which you have to go through a process of renewal. As a part of this process, an application must be filed with the Trademarks Office of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). The registration cost can be between $250 and $300, depending on whether the owner applied over the Internet or by other means. In the event of successful registration, another fee of $200 is required for the registration certificate to be issued.