Starting a Business: Trademarks

When starting a new business, it is important to consider protecting your new mark by registering it. 

What is a trademark?

A trademark is distinct and recognizable goods or services of an individual or organization that can be identified and separated from others. 

You can register goods or services as a trademark as long as it does not contravene the Trade-marks Act.

Why should you register a trademark?
Pros of Registering Trademarks
  • Registering a trademark will provide you with exclusive usage of the good or service for 15 years across Canada
    • Renewable every 15 years after that
  • Prevents others from using a similar trademark
  • Do not need to prove ownership (as opposed to unregistered trademarks)
  • Allows you to license your trademark to increase your revenues
  • Protect your business, investment, and reputation/branding
Cons of Registering Trademarks
  • Technically a trademark does not need to be registered (unless it relates to precious metals)
    • Using the mark for an extended period of time will suffice (under common law)
    • However, this means it will add uncertainty to your business
    • Registering the trademark will give you immediate protection of your mark
  • Registration of trademark may be removed if not used for an extended period of time
When should you register a trademark?

There is no deadline, but you should file as early as possible to ensure your mark is protected.  Most do it before using their marks.  It is better to be safe than sorry!

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