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Is your brand too descriptive to be registered as a Trademark in Canada?

Registering a trademark can be an important part of protecting your business brand online.  

If you want to read more about how copyright protects your content online, you can refer to this article.

So if you are in the early days of creating your brand, there are a couple of things to be thinking about before you spend a ton of money and energy on marketing. 

The most obvious first step is to do a Canadian trademark search so that you know that there are no similar words or logos that are already registered for your category of goods or services.

But an often overlooked NEXT STEP is to think about whether the brand - being a product name, for instance, is too DESCRIPTIVE, to be registered (and therefore protected as a Trademark.

From the Trademark Guide of Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), these are some trademarks that can not be registered:

Trademarks that are generally unregistrable include the following:

  1. Names and surnames;
  2. Clearly descriptive...
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How to Do a Canadian Trademark Search

My online business mentor, Amy Porterfield, just released a podcast episode this week with US Attorney, Ashley Kirkwood, talking about protecting your online content.  I highly recommend that you listen to that episode here.

As a reminder, copyright laws protect your content.  Trademark laws protect your brand.

One of the recommendations, which I completely agree with, is to do a trademark search BEFORE you launch a new online course or digital product to make sure you are not infringing on anyone's trademarks.

I have already gotten questions from two business owners who listened to this episode about how to do a Trademark Search for Canada.  

To do a trademark search, you will find the Canadian Trademarks Database on the Government of Canada website.  The link is here.

If you click on "Additional Search Options" you can narrow your search in "Category" to Trademarks and under "Type" to Work Marks.  This will help to give you more relevant search results.

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Important Differences Between Trademark and Copyright Protection in Canada

I have been talking a lot recently about the importance of protecting your business online.  An important piece of this is to understand how to use copyright and trademark laws to your benefit.

It is easy to get confused about the differences between copyright protection and trademarks.

The best way that I can boil it down is that Copyright protects your content.  Trademarks protect your brand.

Copyright laws (in Canada and internationally through treaties) protect the original content that you create and publish. Online courses, blog posts, photos, podcasts, ebooks, songs can all be copyrighted works.

Copyright protection is automatic upon publication of an original work.  Registration is possible (and easy!) but not required.

Using the © symbol along with a copyright notice is a good preventative measure. i.e. © Legal Essentials Inc. 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Trademarks protect elements of your brand which can include business names, product names, slogans,...

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