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Protect your trademark in Canada

A trademark is a combination of letters, words, sounds or designs that distinguishes a company's goods or services from those of others in the marketplace. A trademark is unique. It is important to a company because over time, it comes to stand not only for the actual goods and services you sell, but also for your company's reputation and brand.

File a new or amended Canadian trademark application

Once the trademark is registered, you have the sole right to use the mark in Canada for 10 years. After that, you can renew the trademark registration every 10 years, indefinitely. The cost to register and maintain a trademark depends on the number of classes of goods or services for which you want to protect your trademark.

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Protect your patent in Canada

A patent is a legal right to prevent others from making, using or selling your invention for up to 20 years in the country or region where your patent is granted.

The invention must be the following:

  • new (first in the world)
  • useful (solving a problem)
  • non-obvious to someone skilled in the relevant field

Apply for a Canadian patent

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Protect your industrial design in Canada

If you produce distinctive-looking new products, you will want to register your designs. Distinctive and attractive features give products a competitive edge.

Industrial designs are the features of a product that appeal to the eye.

To be eligible for registration, your design must be original; it cannot closely resemble another design. Registration is intended to protect the product's appearance—not what it is made of, how it is made or how it works.

When you register your industrial design, you gain exclusive, legally enforceable rights for up to 15 years in Canada.

Apply for a Canadian industrial design

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Protect your copyright in Canada

Whether you are a songwriter, an author, a musician or someone delivering a performance such as a play or audio-visual show, in Canada, you automatically hold the copyright on your work. Your copyright exists in Canada during your lifetime and for 70 years following your death. After that, the work is in the public domain, and anyone can use it. This is true for most works, but there are exceptions.

You do not have to register anything to have this right. However, getting a certificate of registration gives you evidence that there is a copyright and that you are the registered owner.

Register a copyright in Canada

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Protect a geographical indication in Canada

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office is responsible for processing requests for protection of geographical indications (GIs) and ensuring that they are entered on the list of protected GIs maintained by the Registrar. A GI can identify a wine or spirit, or an agricultural product or food of a category set out in the Trademarks Act.

Request that a GI be entered on Canada's list of GIs

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Protect a plant breeders' right

Plant breeders' rights (PBR) are a form of IP protection that allows plant breeders to protect new varieties of plants, similar to the way an invention can be protected with a patent. When a PBR certificate is granted for a variety, the holder has legal protection in the marketplace and may seek compensation if the variety is used without authorization.

Apply for PBR: 3 part process

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Protect your trade secret

A trade secret can be any business information that derives its value from its secrecy.

There is no formal application or registration process for trade secrets in Canada. You should consider different ways to keep your valuable business information secret, including non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements, confidentiality clauses in employment agreements, encryption, password protection, lock and key, and limits on the number of individuals with access to the information.

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What about IP rights abroad?

IP rights are territorial. Each country has its own set of IP laws that must be followed in the formal IP protection process. Even when you use an international application system, each country will examine the international application under its own specific IP laws.

Manage your IP rights abroad