Skip to main content

Trademarks and Patents - protecting your intellectual property

What you need to know about intellectual property

Do you want to protect your company logo? The best way to do that is to register it as a trademark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. The clock is ticking! Amendments to the Trade-marks Act are on the horizon, and will mean higher costs. Even worse, you might find yourself having to buy your trademark from someone who is just trying to squeeze money out of you.

What’s a trademark?

A trademark is one or more words, sounds or designs used to identify the goods or services of a person or organization.

What does a trademark do?

Your trademark helps distinguish your goods or services from those of other businesses.
A trademark registration is proof of ownership. If you find yourself in a dispute, the registered owner does not have to prove ownership; the duty is on the challenger.

How long will I own my trademark?

Trademarks are valid for 15 years in Canada. After 15 years, they must be renewed.
Ready to register your trademark?Get it done right away.


The federal government has been overhauling Canada’s trademark laws. The changes are slated to take effect in early 2019.

An alarming amendment

As it stands, when you file a trademark application, you must provide a date of first use or a statement that you started using your trademark before applying to register it.

Once the amendments to the Trade-marks Act are adopted, providing a pre-registration statement of use will no longer be mandatory. You will be able to file a trademark application without such a statement.

This change has caused serious concerns because it opens the door for “trademark trolls”! For instance, someone could register a trademark to prevent a legitimate registration, and then sell it at an inflated price to the business that should rightly own the trademark but had not already registered it.

The cost of registration is skyrocketing!

When you register your trademark, you have to describe the classification of the goods and services associated with your trademark. Currently, goods and services need only be described in ordinary commercial terms.

In order to comply with the Nice Agreement, an international treaty adopted by Canada, you will need include the classes under which the goods and services fall within the Nice Classification System.

In the current system, applicants pay a $250 online filing fee regardless of the number of classes listed in the application. If these amendments are passed, this would be replaced with a $330 filing fee for the first class, plus $100 for each additional class listed in the trademark application! The average trademark application covers at least three classes.

Protect your invention: apply for a patent

Do you want to protect your invention? Apply for a patent with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. The following information is taken directly from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website:

• A patent is a government grant that gives you the right to keep others from making, using or selling your invention in Canada.
• You can use a patent to make a profit by selling it, licensing it or using it as an asset to negotiate funding.

Apply for your patent now!

Still have questions about intellectual property? Contact your CFIB counsellor today!