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Protecting Your Idea

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Trademark registration gives you exclusive rights to words, symbols and designs, or combinations of these, that distinguish your wares or services from those of someone else. Registration provides protection for renewable 10-year periods. Please visit  for the latest information.

Why register?

  • Registration is direct evidence of ownership.
  • In a dispute, the registered owner does not have to prove ownership; the onus is on the challenger. Use of an unregistered trademark can lead to a lengthy, expensive legal dispute over who has the right to use it.
  • A registered trademark is a valuable asset for business expansion through licensing franchises.

How does it work?

  • An application for registration must be filed with the Trademarks Office.
  • Applications are examined to ensure that they comply with the Trademarks Act.
  • A trademark registration may be declared invalid because it is similar to a trade name (company name) currently being used. It's a good idea to conduct a search of existing trade names before filing a trademark application.
  • Preparing a trademark application can be a complex task. You may file on your own, but it is recommended that a registered trademark agent do so on your behalf.
  • The Trademarks Office can provide a list of registered agents.

Can any type of mark be registered?

No. Marks that cannot be registered are:

  • names of individuals;
  • words that are clearly descriptive (e.g. "delicious" ice cream);
  • terms that are misleading;
  • words that designate a place of origin (e.g. "Atlantic" cod);
  • terms or symbols that are too similar to an existing trademark or those that are prohibited under the Trademarks Act (e.g. coats of arms, badges, etc. of national and international organizations and immoral or offensive terms).
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