A trademark is a combination of letters, words, sounds or designs that distinguishes one company’s goods or services from those of others in the marketplace. A trademark is unique. It is important because over time, a trademark comes to stand not only for the actual goods and services you sell, but also for your reputation and brand.
By registering your trademark, you protect it under law from misuse by others, and you gain exclusive rights to use it throughout Canada for 15 years (a term that you can renew).
Protecting your brand and the products and services it stands for is critical to your future sales. Your trademark is an important part of your brand, and registering it gives you the exclusive right to use it to sell your products and services.
Trademarks include letters, words, logos, product and service names, slogans and more. If you do not protect your trademark, a competitor could use it or something similar, which could confuse your customers.
Five reasons to register your trademark
- It shows that the trademark is yours.
- It gives you exclusive rights to use the trademark across Canada for 15 years (and you can renew that indefinitely).
- It stops others from using a confusingly similar trademark.
- It allows you to flag infringements by others.
- It helps you license your trademark, which you can use to make money and increase your brand’s popularity.
How to register your trademark
The Office of Innovation, Partnerships and Economic Development (IPED) can help you register your trademark. If you have questions about this, please contact Ellen MacKay, Director, Innovation Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general inquires, see A Guide to Trademarks for details on how to apply for and register a trademark and to see what you can and cannot register.
The definition of Copyright is quite complicated, and depends upon the type of Intellectual Property to which the copyright applies. Very briefly, "copyright" generally means the right to copy - it means that an owner is the only person who may copy his or her work or permit someone else to do so. It generally includes the sole right to publish, produce, reproduce and to perform a work in public. Copyright does not protect mere ideas, procedures, discoveries, or facts. Copyright applies to all original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works including books, writings, musical works, sculptures, paintings, photographs, motion picture films, dictionaries and encyclopaedias. Copyright also applies to mechanical contrivances such as records, cassettes and tapes, and recently to computer programs (although please be advised that protection of computer programs may also be achieved under the patent legislation -- this is a gray area).
Specifically, the term "copyright" has different meanings depending upon the form of Intellectual Property. According to the Copyright Act, "copyright" means:
(a) in the case of a work, the sole right to produce or reproduce the work or any substantial part of the work in any material form whatever, to perform the work or any substantial part thereof in public or, if the work is unpublished, to publish the work or any substantial part thereof, and includes the sole right to do or authorise several other things;
(b) in the case of a performer's performance, the sole right to do or authorise another to do several different things in relation to the performer's performance or any substantial part of the performance;
(c) in the case of a sound recording, the sole right to do or authorise the following in relation to the sound recording or any substantial part thereof:
- to publish it for the first time,
- to reproduce it in any material form, and
- to rent it out.
- in the case of a communication signal, the sole right to do or authorise the following in relation to the communication signal or any substantial part thereof:
- to fix it,
- to reproduce any fixation of it that was made without the broadcaster's consent,
- to authorize another broadcaster to retransmit it to the public simultaneously with its broadcast, and
- in the case of a television communication signal, to perform it in a place open to the public on payment of an entrance fee.
The IPED office can help you with your copyright issues. If you have questions about this, please contact Ellen MacKay, Director, Innovation development at email@example.com.