Area of Law: Intellectual Property
Answer # 304
Why register a Trademark?Region: Ontario Answer # 304
You are not required to register a trademark
You are not required to register a trademark with the Office of the Registrar of Trademarks at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) to have a legal right to use it. Many trademarks are established simply because they are used for a period. However, if there is a dispute about who owns the trademark, it may be more difficult to prove your ownership and protect your rights if your trademark is not registered.
Register of Trademarks
A registered trademark refers to one that has been entered in the Register of Trademarks, which is the record of all trademarks that have been formally applied for and registered in Canada. Your certificate of registration is direct evidence that you own the trademark.
“First use” rule
In trademark law it is very important that you use the mark to establish your rights as the owner because the first one to use the mark is the lawful owner. You can use the mark even before your application for registration has been filed. Even if you have a registered trademark, you could be ordered to stop using it if someone else started using a similar or confusing mark before you started using your trademark.
The benefits of registering a trademark
The main advantage of registering your trademark is that you will then have the exclusive right to use the trademark throughout Canada for 10 years. You can renew the registration every 10 years after that. In the absence of a registered trademark, your scope of protection is limited to the geographic region within which you have developed business goodwill or a reputation in connection with your trademark.
For more information about trademarks, refer to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
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