Top Question About Trademarks in Canada, Answered: Part 1

Within the past month, there have been a lot of questions surrounding Canada’s new trademark law, which went into effect in June 2019. For many new applicants and start-ups, there are some critical details about filing for a trademark that are important to know before you get started.

We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions about filing a trademark in Canada, starting with the basics.

What’s the Difference Between a Trademark and a Patent?

Trademarks protect your brand. Examples of what you can trademark include:

  • Words
  • Designs
  • Textures
  • Moving images
  • Colors
  • Scents
  • Sounds
  • Holograms
  • Modes of packaging
  • Three-dimensional shapes

On the other hand, patents protect inventions. Examples of patents include machines, processes, products, or compositions.

What’s the Difference Between a Registered and Unregistered Trademark?

The main difference between a registered and unregistered trademark is whether or not you have applied for and received a trademark registration. A registered trademark provides protection across Canada. A registered trademark can be used to prevent other parties from obtaining registrations for similar trademarks and be used to argue both infringement and passing off. If you do not have a registered trademark, your trademark is protected by common law. Your protection is limited to the areas in which your trademark is known and if someone files an application for registration, you end up having to fight to show entitlement of your trademark through an opposition proceeding. Oppositions can be long and expensive processes and there is no guarantee of a successful outcome.

How Much Does It Cost to Apply for a Trademark?

The cost for registering a trademark is dependent upon a number of factors. Are you filing it yourself? Have you hired an agent to assist? What goods and services are you planning to include in your application? If you file it yourself through the online system, costs start as low as $330 but you will want to ensure that you understand the process and file correctly as an improperly filed application could be invalid or not provide the protection you want.

How Long Are Trademarks Valid For?

If you successfully make it through the trademark process and obtain a trademark registration, your registration is valid for 10 years under the new regulations. You can renew your trademark every 10 years.

In the next part of your blog, we will outline the upcoming series of the most critical questions related to filing for a trademark in Canada.

Have a question? Click here for a free consultation with our trademark agents in Edmonton.