What are trademarks?

Find out how to protect your brand with trademarks.

A trademark is a combination of letters, words, sounds or designs that distinguishes one 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, a trademark comes to stand not only for the actual goods and services you sell, but also for your company’s reputation and brand.

By registering your trademark, you protect it under law from misuse by others, and you gain exclusive rights to use it throughout Canada for 15 years (a term that you can renew).

See A Guide to Trademarks for information on how to register, key facts and other important information.

What is a trademark in Canada? - HTML5 Transcript

(Government of Canada signature and “Canada” wordmark)

(The video starts with an upbeat music that plays throughout)

On-screen text:

A trademark can be your most valuable business asset

So, what is a trademark in Canada?

(Multiple pictograms representing everyday products come together to shape the map of Canada: stylized words “logos” and “slogans”, headphones, stethoscope, photo camera, video game controller, lightbulbs, etc.)

The trademark you create represents your business identity and distinct brand

A trademark identifies your business, your goods and services and distinguishes them from those of competitors

Protect your TM by registering it

(a document symbolizing a TM registration)

A registered TM confirms your exclusive right to your trademark everywhere in Canada for up to 15 years and is renewable

(numbers flip rapidly up to 15)

Trademarks are more than logos and slogans

(stylized words “logos” and “slogans”)

Trademarks can be words

(a bottle appears with “WORDS” on it)


(a t-shirt appears with “NUMBERS” with a “7” on it)


(a globe appears with “DESIGNS” on it)


(a shopping bag appears with “PACKAGING” on it)


(two sound notes appear)

or any combination of these

(bottle, t-shirt, globe, shopping bag appear side by side)

Registering your TM gives you a competitive edge.


A registered TM can help protect your brand

(a lock)

prevent others from using your mark

(3 people with a banned symbol)

negotiate financing

(a handshake)

license to others

(a symbol of a network with 3 people)

A registered TM can ultimately be sold

(a “sold” sign)

(short pause)

Your registered TM protects your brand

(stylized TM with maple leafs appear)

Learn more about trademarks

Visit Canada.ca/trademarks

(Canada Wordmark (static flag))

Read more

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