Are you running a business and looking to register a trademark? Trademark registration is not always required in Canada, but it is quite useful to have in order to protect core aspects of your company’s products or services.
Here is the scoop on the trademark registration processes and what you need to know before you consider applying.
Are There Various Types of Trademarks?
Most Canadians might assume a business’ logo when they hear the word trademark. It is reasonable to do so, but there are various types of trademarks in Canada.
Logos are just one example of the most commonly occurring trademark. Businesses can trademark words, symbols, or combinations of any two to help their brand to stand out from the rest of the competition.
Additionally, it is possible for businesses to trademark a specific way of packaging or branding their company’s products in order to stay distinctive from the rest.
For example, a company that marketed olive oil in a distinctive spherical bottle might consider trademarking the container in order to stay uniquely recognizable to their customers.
Another category of trademarks is certification trademarks, which identify products or services that attain a set and defined brand standard.
Is Trademarking Products Recommended?
Although trademark registration is not deemed entirely necessary, it does come highly recommended. If businesses use an unregistered trademark for a duration of time, by the business law here, it can cement your business’ ownership of the trademark. This in turn can provide you and your brand with certain liberties and trademark rights.
Despite the liberties, an unregistered trademark can offer, your best bet is still to register. Trademarking your brand or products opens up a world of opportunities for you as a business owner.
For example, you have the liberty to advertise your brand anywhere. In the case that you decided to not proceed with the registration process, your rights are limited to the geographic area where the trademark has been originally used.
Ultimately, you will have to go to court in situations where your ownership of your trademark is in question.
On a second note, once your business has registered your trademark, you will have the sole right to use that particular trademark nationally across Canada for 15 years.
Trademark registrations are renewable every 15 years so it is important to keep track of the date of your original registration. You will also have the right to engage in infringement proceedings at either the provincial or federal level.
Your trademark registration is documentation of evidence of ownership. In the case that a dispute ever arises regarding your trademark, the burden of proof is on the challenger.
Additionally, once your trademark registration in Canada is complete, you can use that to ask for priority when registering the trademark in foreign countries.
How Do I Register My Trademark in Canada?
The initial step of the trademark registration process is to first send an application to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). There are two ways to go about it.
Firstly, you can send your trademark application online directly on the CIPO’s website. There are separate trademark application forms for agents as well as printable forms if you prefer to fill out the application and send it in by mail.
It is important to highlight that while you might file a trademark application based on “use or making known in Canada, foreign use and application/registration, proposed use in Canada, or any combination thereof,” in most cases, the business trademark should be used publicly before it can be registered in Canada.
Cost of Registering a Trademark in Canada
Trademark registration does not come cheap. You can expect to dish out $330 for just simply registering online. If you are thinking of registering by mail, you can expect to pay $430.
These are the costs to cover the base governmental fees and are non-refundable therefore, it is recommended to ensure that there are no similar trademarks that might prevent you from registering yours by checking out the online Canadian Trademarks Database.
Also, the prices mentioned do not include the fees for a trademark agent, which will be an additional charge on top of the basic government registration charges if you choose to hire one to process your application.
How is My Trademark Processed?
You will be given a filing date and an application number by the CIPO, which sets off a five-step examination process to process your registration. At this time, you will be sent a formal filing acknowledgement email or letter.
The five-step examination process starts off with the CIPO searching the trademark records to find any other trademark that may conflict with yours. In the case, a conflict occurs, you will be notified right away to make any changes necessary and resubmit.
The CIPO then studies your trademark application to identify that it is fully compliant with the criteria set by the Trademarks Act and Regulations. Thirdly, the CIPO will publish your application in the weekly issue of the Trademarks Journal.
During this time, if anyone chooses to challenge your application, they can pay $750 in order to file a statement of opposition with the registrar. In the case of opposition, CIPO’s registrar will examine the opposing parties’ evidence and will determine whether or not to decline your registration application.
Both parties will be informed of the registrar’s final decision and be given an explanation for either the denial or approval of the trademark application.
Lastly, if the application is approved, the payment for registration will be processed and a trademark registration certificate will be sent to you. The whole registration process from start to end can take up to one year before your certificate is sent.
It is important to highlight that trademark registration through the CIPO only protects your trademark rights in Canada. If you are considering selling products or services internationally, it is highly encouraged to register your trademark in participating countries.
Despite the lengthy process to register your trademark, it is definitely advised as it will fully protect your brand and products from copycats and unlawful imitation.