Canadian Trade-marks Database Tutorial

Lesson 1: Trade-marks in business

To effectively use the Canadian Trade-marks Database in business, it is important to understand how to use it. In this section you will learn about:

Selecting trade-marks

You might have an idea in mind for a name or symbol you would like to register as a trade-mark. Before going through the application process, be sure that the selected name or symbol can be a trade-mark and is available. Doing this early on can help avoid unnecessary conflicts with other businesses as well as potential legal expenses. There are two steps in this process:

  1. Find out if your trade-mark is registrable
    The first step is to learn what types of trade-marks canbe registered. You can find a listing of the types of marks that do not ordinarily qualify as trade-marks in the Guide to Trade-marks: Making sure your trade-mark can be registered.
  2. Find out if it is available
    If your name or symbol qualifies for registration, you will need to determine whether it is being used by another business. If it is, you may not be able to use it for your business. And, if the name or symbol you are considering is very similar to an existing mark, you may not be able to register it either.

Protecting trade-marks

Registration of a trade-mark provides the owner with the exclusive right to use the trade-mark in association with its wares (goods) and services in Canada. Occasionally, a trade-mark may be used inadvertently and without authorization. The Canadian Trade-marks Database can help prevent accidental infringement before it takes place and assist in settling a trade-mark dispute.

  • Proof of ownership
    If you believe that another business is using your trade-mark, you can use the Canadian Trade-marks Database to prove that you own the trade-mark. You will need to search the database and present your registration information to the other business. Or, you can present your Registration Certificate. Keep in mind that it is always best to retain legal counsel in such situations.
  • Preventing infringement
    All active and inactive trade-marks are available for public viewing on the Database. Using the Database will help reduce risks of trade-mark infringement.

Making strategic business decisions

Understanding how to use the search options of the Canadian Trade-marks Database can help you recognize trends, locate potential partners, develop your branding, and make strategic business decisions based on trade-marks data.

  • Recognize trends
    Find out who your competition is, what they are doing, and develop a comparative analysis of products or services.
  • Locate partners
    Reviewing businesses in your industry or related industries may identify potential partners. Use the trade-mark records to contact them and explore possibilities of working together.
  • Develop branding
    When developing your branding strategy, review the symbols and names that have already been registered in your industry. You will then be able to develop your branding by differentiating your business or by following established industry trends.