Business and commercial law: The use of trademarks in Canada

Succeeding in the business world means conveying a certain message or image. Consumers have to be able to identify a business by its particular trademark -- something that sets it apart from the rest. A trademark, in the business and commercial world in Canada, is part of the branding picture that gives a product or service credibility in the eyes of the public.

A registered trademark is one way a corporate image can be protected. Registering a trademark gives a business owner legal title to it sort of like the way a deed gives a purchaser title to a piece of property in real estate. There are certain requirements that must be met in order for a trademark to be valid.

A registered trademark can't be someone's name, either first or last of someone who is alive or who has died within the last 30 years. It has to be distinct and can' be confused with another registered trademark. Words in languages other than English or French can also not be trademarked in Canada. All the stipulations are spelled out in the Trade-marks Act.  

A trademark is in effect for 15 years from the date of formal registration. The registration process and the rules surrounding trademarks are extremely complex and anyone wishing to know more about the process should consult a lawyer experienced in business and commercial law in Canada. Such a lawyer will be familiar with all the legalities of trademark law and can assist his or her client in beginning the trademark process.

Source:, "What can be trademarked?", Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Dec. 16, 2017

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