What can be registered as a trademark?

Registered Trademarks

The most common marks that are registered as trademarks include business names, brand names, slogans, logos, designs or a combination of these (e.g. business name + logo).

Restrictions on Trademark Registration

In Canada, the following marks generally cannot be registered:

  • a name and/or surname without anything more (e.g. SARAH or SARAH JONES)
  • clearly descriptive marks (e.g. CREAMY for ice cream)
  • deceptively misdescriptive marks (e.g. NATURAL FOODS for foods that contain preservatives, artificial ingredients)
  • marks that identify a geographical origin (e.g. TOKYO CLOTHING for clothing originating in Tokyo)
  • marks that are the name of the good or service (in any language) (e.g. CIOCCOLATO for chocolate)
  • any mark that is confusingly similar to existing registered or pending trademarks

There are however exceptions to some of the above restrictions. For example, if there are additional words in the trademark then it may be registrable (e.g. XYZ CIOCCOLATO, SARAH’S HOUSE). Also, for some of the above categories, a trademark may be registrable if it can be shown that, through use of the trademark over time, the trademark has become known by consumers as an identifier of a particular source of goods and/or services. Other exceptions may also apply.

Trademark Register

All trademark applications are reviewed and compared against the Canadian Trademark database of registered trademarks and pending trademark applications. An otherwise registrable trademark may be refused if it is the same or similar to a registered or pending trademark. This highlights the importance of filing an application for your trademark as early as possible.

Contact Sander Law today to discuss the registration of your trademark.

The above content is for informational purposes only and is not legal or professional advice.

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