Trade-marks protect the name or logo of a company. Trade-marks grant their owner the right to prevent any other party from applying the same or a confusingly similar mark to similar products and services or to closely related products and services in some cases.
What Can Be Trade-marked
A trade-mark may be a word, design, logo, sound or color. Trade-marks is used to distinguish the wares and services of the owner from their competitors. A trade-mark may also be a combination of more than one of these elements.
Registered vs. Unregistered
Trade-marks may be registered, however, the mere adoption and use of a mark may provide some protection to the owner as an unregistered mark. An advantage of registration of a trade-mark include preventing infringement or passing off across Canada as opposed to only locally in the case of unregistered marks. Additional advantages include the right to file corresponding trade-mark applications in other countries and preventing others from filing applications for similar marks.
Requirements for Registerability
Unlike patents, there is no need for secrecy before filing a trade-mark application. The requirements for registering a trade-mark in Canada are that the mark must not be:
- The name of a person;
- Descriptive of the products or services it is used with;
- Confusingly similar to a previously used or registered mark; or
- Prohibited in as an “official mark” in Canada, such as the flag crest or arms of a government body.