Differences Between A Trademark And A Trade Name

A common misconception that most people harbor about trademarks is its relation to trade names. This misconception can have costly consequences.

So, what are trade names and how do they differ from trademarks.

Trade Name

The name under which you conduct your business is known as a trade name. You can register the trade name under the Trade-marks Act only if your trade name is also used as your trademark, implying that it is used to identify products, goods and services.


Trademarks, on the other hand, are used by customers to identify services or products and create a unique identity for the product in the market. Customers mostly identify the brand with the trademark associated with the brand.

Understanding the difference

Businesses that are registered with the Federal Registrar of companies and Provincial Cooperation Canada have a trade name. Reservation of corporate name, or creation of a corporation, does not bestow you the right to use the business name in the jurisdiction. The reason for this is that, corporate registrars don’t go through the process of checking if the name that is being submitted for registration purposes is violating any rights.

What this implies is that getting the name approved of your company does not mean that you are not violating any individual’s right. However, you might also be compelled to change the name if you are stepping on someone’s right. Corporate names are treated as unregistered trademarks, which means that they are not existent outside their area of operation or geographical areas. Corporate names are treated like rights in unregistered trademarks, which imply that they are nonexistent outside the geographical areas.

Registering a corporate name that is unique will not give you the right to stop others from using the name, unless you can prove it that the use of the name by other person creates confusion. A company name is not a trademark, implying that your brand name is different from your trademark. So, if you have not registered your trade name as your trademark then, you are without trademark protection.

Example of trade name as a trademark

A good example of trade name being used as a trademark is Microsoft. Although, people buy Microsoft product, like Microsoft Office, the name Microsoft is also trademarked. And hence is protected as a trademark.

If you have substantial evidence and belief that your trade name plays an important role in attracting customers, then you should register it as your trademark. If you want to know more on the subject or if someone is infringing on your trade name that is registered as a trademark, then get in touch with a team of legal experts.