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A Guide to Basic Canadian Trademark Laws Everyone Should Know


trademark image

The first copyright law in Canadian history was the Canadian Copyright Act in 1924. The government amended this law in the 1980s, adding more provisions, such as clauses about digital works, and changing others.

If you're interested in trademark laws or have created something and have questions about protecting it, I can help. I'll discuss the basics of Canada's copyright laws here.


Moral Rights

The first thing to note about trademark law is that it protects moral rights and copyright. The major difference between the two is that copyright focuses on monetary rights. Moral rights protect the creator's reputation.


Created by the Berne Convention, moral rights ensure that your name cannot appear in a work you didn't create. Nobody can alter your work to any major extent or in any insulting manner without your consent. These rights also protect against damage or destruction of your work.


Moral rights lapse fifty years after the death of the work's creator and you can't sign them away. Nobody can take them from you either, so don't worry about losing creative rights in a divorce or other legal disagreement.


Acquiring a Trademark

The trademark application process is much easier now than it once was. 2019 saw changes to Canada's Trademark Act, which altered the process.


The biggest change is that you can apply for a trademark without ever having used it before. This makes it much easier for businesses to create and protect logos.


Please note that in Canada, trademarks cost money. The current price is about $350 plus any fees charged by the agency you go through.


International Treaties

Canada has several treaties with other nations regarding copyright law. This means that trademarked Canadian works are also protected in these countries.


Canada's current treaties are international and protect copyrighted work throughout the EU, the US, and other signatories. This includes much of Africa and Asia.

Copyrights are a business issue and an international one. If your copyrighted work is business-related, you should get a business lawyer.

Trademark Application Divisions

One interesting change to Canadian trademark regulations was the concept of application divisions. This means that if a part of the trademark doesn't work, but the rest does, you can cut the offending part.

This way, an applicant can maintain the application date, which keeps others from copying the trademark and getting it registered before you're done revising.

Infringement

Trademark infringement does happen, but it's a tricky issue. Be on the lookout for competitors using similar trademarks and consult a lawyer if you think somebody is.


Keep in mind that not everything that looks like infringement is illegal. Sometimes, people create similar logos or ideas without realizing it.

Canadian Trademark Laws

Running a successful business might mean applying for a trademark. I've discussed trademark laws here, but I'm happy to answer any other questions you have.

You can come to me for other legal issues, too. I'm versed in several different legal fields and provide excellent service in each one. If you need a good lawyer, come talk to me.

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