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Frequently Asked Questions

How do your fees compare to law firm fees?

A full-service law firm typically charges by the hour with a single trademark application running up to $4,000 (CAD) or more. We offer the same (or better) expertise for comparable services, but at an average ‘budget’ price point of 70% cheaper.

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How do you offer such low rates?

For our Light Touch service, we are able to minimize lawyer fees by helping you only with the hard part of your trademark application and letting you handle the rest.

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What are your fees?

Our fees are among the lowest in North America, 70% lower than other firms. You can find out more about our fees on our Services page.

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Are your fees inclusive?

The fees on our website are inclusive other than sales tax and government filing fees, as these can vary.

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How do the government filing fees work?

Government filing fees are not charged per application but per ‘class’ of products or services. Products and services in a trademark application are categorized into 45 different classes. So, if you file a trademark application for ‘running shoes’ (Class 25) and ‘computer software development’ (Class 42), you would have to pay government filing fees for two classes.

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How much are the government filing fees for a Canadian trademark application?

The government filing fee for a single-class Canadian trademark application is $330 (CAD). Each additional class of products or services requires an extra $100 (CAD) fee.

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How much are the government filing fees for a US trademark application?

The government filing fee for a US trademark application is $275 (USD) per class of products or services.

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How will I know what my government filing fees amount to?

We will be able to estimate your government filing fees after we prepare your draft trademark application. Government filing fees are calculated based on the number of classes of products and/or services your application covers.

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What currency can I pay in?

All fees for legal services are in Canadian dollars (CAD). Because we are USPTO-qualified, we also offer our US trademark registration services in CAD, which gives clients excellent savings on their US applications. USPTO government fees have to be paid in US dollars (USD).

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Do you offer free searches?

No. We take pride in protecting you and your investment, so your business can flourish. We simply can’t stand by marketing gimmicks that set you up to fail.

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What if I can’t file my trademark application because of a conflict identified in my search?

If you wish to stop the application process part way, you will still receive an expertly drafted application that you can then carry forward with your new trademark. We can also counsel you on choosing a trademark to avoid conflicts.

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Are there any additional fees after my application is filed?

In most cases, the fees we provide on our website represent the complete, transparent picture of fees, from filing to registration, other than the government filing fees and sales tax. However, there are two rare but possible outcomes that could result in additional fees: 1. a substantive refusal, and 2. an opposition.

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What are your fees for responding to a substantive refusal?

Our flat fee for preparing and filing a substantive response is $850 (CAD) plus tax.

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What are your fees for handling a trademark opposition?

Our hourly fees vary (depending on the practitioner) from $250 to $500 (CAD).

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What if my application is refused, do I get my money back?

The final decision about Canadian trademark registration is made by the CIPO, about 18 to 24 months into the process. For that reason, if the CIPO has refused your application, we cannot provide a refund.

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Is renewal of my trademark registration covered under your fees?

No. Renewal of your trademark registration is not included in our fees.

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What does it cost to renew my Canadian trademark registration?

Your renewal cost is dependent on the number of classes of products and/or services your registration covers. If paid online, renewal fee is $400.00 (CAD) for the first class, plus $125 (CAD) for each additional class listed in the registration.  

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Do you offer payment plans or deferred payment?

Because our fees are already among the lowest in North America, 70% lower than other firms, we cannot offer payment plans or deferred payment. Our quick turnaround also does not support payment plans or deferred payments. All of the lawyer work for your application is completed within 5 to 7 business days.

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Can I get a refund?

If for any reason you are unsatisfied with our service prior to completing work on your trademark application, we will issue you a full refund.

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Do you provide a money-back guarantee?

The ultimate decision about your Canadian trademark application is made by the CIPO. For that reason, we cannot provide a money-back guarantee. We can, however, guarantee expertise – and our expertise almost always results in success. When it comes to trademark registration, 100% money-back guarantees are a marketing gimmick.

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How do I place my order for a trademark application?

To place an order for a trademark application, visit our Services page.

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What if I don’t know which option to choose?

You can compare options on our Pricing page. If you still need help, one of our trademark experts would be happy to speak with you by phone to help you determine the best trademark protection for your business. You can book a 15-minute consultation by calling 1-855-286-7467.

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What happens after I place my order?

Once your order is confirmed, we will be in touch within 5-7 business days to schedule a follow-up call with one of our trademark experts to walk you through the completed search and application, and to confirm your trademark details.

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What if I can’t file my trademark application because of a conflict identified in my search?

If you wish to stop the application process part way, you will still receive an expertly drafted application that you can then carry forward with your new trademark. We can also counsel you on choosing a trademark to avoid conflicts.

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When will my trademark application be ready?

Please allow 5 to 7 business days for your draft trademark application to be completed. Once the draft is ready, we’ll send it to you for your review and final approval.

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How long does it take for my comprehensive trademark search to be completed?

We typically deliver our comprehensive trademark search results within 5 to 7 business days.

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What happens if there’s a conflict identified in my search?

If a search report reveals a conflict with your proposed trademark, we will always offer a phone meeting to discuss the issue and suggest potential strategies for success.

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Does your name go on the application?

Only for Full Service orders. For Light Touch, your trademark application exclusively identifies you (or your business) as the applicant (trademark owner). We only assist you with the hard part of setting up your trademark application.  

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Do you represent me before the CIPO?

Only for Full Service orders. For Light Touch, because we offer top-tier lawyer help at a low fixed cost, we only help with the hard part of your trademark application. This means that we do not:

·       become your Agent of Record to handle correspondence on your behalf;

·       monitor your application(s) after filing to registration

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How do I find out if my trademark is available?

To be certain that your trademark is available (and to avoid potential conflicts), a pre-filing search should be conducted in each country where registration is desired to locate any existing trademarks that are similar to yours and used for similar products and/or services. Any search other than a full comprehensive trademark search (proper lawyer search) is risky.

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I already did my own search on the CIPO Trademarks Database. Isn’t that enough?

No. The biggest problem with relying exclusively on a CIPO Trademarks Database search is that the results include only direct or nearly direct matches of trademarks that have been filed or registered with the CIPO. Be careful. There could be someone else using the trademark who has the rights to it based on common law.

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Why do I need a full comprehensive trademark search (the kind only lawyers can do)?

Here’s an example why: If you run a search for the proposed trademark ‘NIRKE’ using a competitor’s free online search tool, or even on the CIPO website, the results will show a false negative “0 Results.” Now, imagine you relied on this exact-match ‘pre-screen’ and launched a shoe/clothing brand under the name NIRKE. Big legal problems could ensue when Nike sends you a nasty letter! Suddenly, that ‘free search’ has cost you big money!

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Do you offer free searches?

No. We take pride in protecting you and your investment, so your business can flourish. We simply can’t stand by marketing gimmicks that set you up to fail.

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What if I can’t file my trademark application because of a conflict identified in my search?

If you wish to stop the application process part way, you will still receive an expertly drafted application that you can then carry forward with your new trademark. We can also counsel you on choosing a trademark to avoid conflicts.

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How long does it take for my comprehensive trademark search to be completed?

We typically deliver our comprehensive trademark search results within 5 to 7 business days.

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What happens if there’s a conflict identified in my search?

If a search report reveals a conflict with your proposed trademark, we will always offer a phone meeting to discuss the issue and suggest potential strategies for success.

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What does your comprehensive trademark search include?

Our comprehensive trademark search includes:

·        Active and inactive trademark records

·        All relevant classes of products and services

·        Common law conflicts

·        Web-based sources(e.g. Internet search, industry publications)

·        Domain names

·        Social media usernames and profile URLs

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What does your comprehensive trademark search fee include?

Our comprehensive trademark search fee includes:

·        a comprehensive trademark clearance report from one of the eminent search houses in North America;

·        a phone meeting to discuss the likelihood of and strategies for your application’s success

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How long will the trademark registration process take?

The trademark registration process in Canada typically takes 18 to 24 months for straightforward applications.

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Can the trademark registration process be expedited?

Unfortunately, there is no mechanism for expediting the registration process. The best way to ensure the fastest processing time is to hire an experienced, reputable trademark agent. A perfectly filed application will help to streamline the examination process.

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How long will it take for my trademark application to be examined?

Based on the CIPO’s current turnaround time, your application will be examined approximately 12 to 18 months after the filing date.

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What are your fees for handling a trademark opposition?

Our hourly fees vary (depending on the practitioner) from $250 to $500 (CAD).

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What if my application is refused, do I get my money back?

The final decision about Canadian trademark registration is made by the CIPO, about 18 to 24 months into the process. For that reason, if the CIPO has refused your application, we cannot provide a refund.

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Is renewal of my trademark registration covered under your fees?

No. Renewal of your trademark registration is not included in our fees.

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What does it cost to renew my Canadian trademark registration?

Your renewal cost is dependent on the number of classes of products and/or services your registration covers. If paid online, renewal fee is $400.00 (CAD) for the first class, plus $125 (CAD) for each additional class listed in the registration.  

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How long will the trademark registration process take?

The trademark registration process in Canada typically takes 18 to 24 months for straightforward applications.

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18 months is a long time to wait; do I gain any legal rights after I apply?

The CIPO will give you a ‘first-position’ legal hold as the trademark owner from the day you filed your trademark. This gives you priority rights from day one. These rights are confirmed when you receive your Certificate of Registration.

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Can the trademark registration process be expedited?

Unfortunately, there is no mechanism for expediting the registration process. The best way to ensure the fastest processing time is to hire an experienced, reputable trademark agent. A perfectly filed application will help to streamline the examination process.

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How long will it take for my trademark application to be examined?

Based on the CIPO’s current turnaround time, your application will be examined approximately 12 to 18 months after the filing date.

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What does ‘CIPO’ stand for?

‘CIPO’ stands for the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Trademark applications in Canada are filed, examined, registered, and renewed with the CIPO.

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What does the trademark examination process involve?

The trademark examination process involves an assessment by a CIPO examiner to ensure your application complies with trademark laws and rules, and does not conflict with pre-existing applications or registrations. If any deficiencies or conflicts are identified, the examiner will send you an Examiner’s Report outlining the issues and the deadline to respond.

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What is an Examiner’s Report?

The Examiner’s Report is a written notice issued by a CIPO examiner that outlines any deficiencies, requirements, or conflicts identified when the examiner assesses your trademark application for compliance with trademark laws and rules. The Examiner’s Report lists the examiner’s concerns, what is required to resolve them, and the deadline to respond. You have six months to address the issues raised.

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What kinds of issues may be raised in an Examiner’s Report?

Examiner’s Reports may be issued for simple (formal) and complex (substantive) reasons. An example of a formal issue is a requirement to clarify the nature of your products or services. An example of a substantive issue is a refusal based on your trademark being considered confusing with a pre-existing trademark.

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What is a substantive refusal?

A substantive refusal is a complex objection. A CIPO examiner may issue a substantive refusal if they consider your trademark to be:

·        obscene

·        descriptive of the products and/or services

·        confusing with a pre-existing pending or registered trademark

·        non-distinctive

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What does it mean if a trademark is ‘obscene’?

In Canada, a brand name, logo, or slogan cannot be registered if it is considered ‘scandalous, obscene or immoral’. If a trademark comprises profane language, obscene visuals, or racial slurs, it won’t likely succeed.

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What does it mean if a trademark is ‘descriptive’?

A ‘descriptive’ trademark means it describes the character or quality of the products and/or services listed in the application (for example, trying to trademark ‘creamy’ for ice cream or ‘juicy’ for apples). Descriptive trademarks are generally not registrable because it would be unfair to competitors to give one business a monopoly on common dictionary words used to describe the products or services of that industry.

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What does it mean if a trademark is confusing with an existing trademark?

A trademark may be ‘confusing’ with an existing trademark if it looks or sounds alike, suggests similar ideas, and is used to sell similar products or services. This may cause consumers to be confused as to the source of the products and services. A confusing trademark is generally not registrable because the existing trademark owner has prior rights to registration.

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How common are substantive refusals?

Fewer than 5% of our trademark applications involve substantive refusals.

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What do I do if I receive a substantive refusal?

If your application receives a substantive refusal, you should first try to resolve the concern by speaking with the examiner over the phone. In some cases, a refusal may be withdrawn simply by making a minor adjustment to the application. However, if a substantive response is required, we can assist you on a flat-fee basis.

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What are your fees for responding to a substantive refusal?

Our flat fee for preparing and filing a substantive response is $850 (CAD) plus tax.

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Are different issues raised in an Examiner’s Report resolved in different ways?

Yes. A simple (formal) issue is usually resolved by filing a revised application, making adjustments where needed. A complex (substantive) refusal may require legal arguments to challenge the examiner’s position. Writing a ‘substantive response’ requires an understanding of trademark laws and rules – we can help you with this.

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Can I respond to an Examiner’s Report on my own?

We developed our Light Touch service because we believe you can easily handle the majority of issues raised in Examiner’s Reports without professional assistance. The possible exception are three refusals which may require substantive responses:

·        descriptiveness (if you sell coffee and you try to trademark the dictionary word
“coffee”)

·        confusion with a prior-existing registered or pending trademark

·        non-distinctiveness (not unique enough to serve as a ‘badge of origin’)

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What happens if I don’t respond to an Examiner’s Report?

If you don’t respond to the Examiner’s Report by the deadline, your trademark application will be considered in default and a Notice of Default will be issued. If you do not remedy the default within the strict deadline set out in the notice, your trademark application will become abandoned, and cancelled.

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Can I get an extension of time to respond to an Examiner’s Report?

It is generally not possible to get an extension of time to respond to an Examiner’s Report (unless certain exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated). So, it’s crucial that you note the response deadline in your personal calendar and give yourself plenty of time to prepare and file your response.

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I received a Notice of Approval; what does that mean?

The CIPO will send you a Notice of Approval after your trademark application successfully passes examination. The notice informs you that your application will be advertised for opposition purposes. It also summarizes the application details (applicant name, trademark, products and services) for your final review.

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My trademark application is advertised; what does that mean?

The CIPO publicly advertises your trademark application to give others an opportunity to oppose it (with valid reasons) before your trademark registers. After issuing the Notice of Approval, your application will be advertised for a two-month period in the Canadian Trademarks Journal, a weekly publication, available online, that lists recently approved trademarks. An opposition can only be filed within that two-month window.

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What is a trademark opposition?

A ‘trademark opposition’ occurs when someone formally opposes your trademark application. After approving your application, but before registering your trademark, the CIPO will advertise your application for a two-month period to give others a chance to object (with valid reasons). Anyone (such as a competitor) can oppose your application during this two-month window by filing a Statement of Opposition and paying the government fee.

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How common are trademark oppositions?

Fewer than 5% of our trademark applications involve oppositions.

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What should I do if my trademark application is opposed?

If your application is opposed, you might need a trademark agent or lawyer. Oppositions are complicated and much like court proceedings. If you want our help to respond to an opposition (or to oppose someone else’s trademark application), we charge on an hourly-rate basis.

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Can trademark oppositions be resolved quickly?

Many trademark oppositions are resolved in the early stages by the parties negotiating mutually agreeable terms, such as excluding conflicting products or services from a trademark application or agreeing to certain limitations on trademark use. Because oppositions can get complicated (and costly), most parties are motivated settle quickly and amicably.

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What do trademark opposition proceedings involve?

Opposition proceedings involve filing legal arguments and evidence, and conducting cross-examinations all within strict deadlines. They are much like court proceedings but are instead held before the Trademarks Opposition Board (TMOB).

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What is the TMOB?

The ‘TMOB’ stands for the ‘Trademarks Opposition Board’. The TMOB is the division of the CIPO that handles trademark opposition proceedings, as well as expungement proceedings (under Section 45 of the Trademarks Act).

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What happens if the opposing party wins the opposition?

If the TMOB rules in favour of the opposing party, your trademark application could be completely or partially refused.

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Can I appeal a trademark opposition ruling?

Yes. If an opposition ruling goes against you, can file an appeal with the Federal Court of Canada.

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I received a Certificate of Registration; what does that mean?

Your Certificate of Registration means your trademark has been successfully registered with the CIPO. It is confirmation that your trademark has been officially entered into the Register of Trademarks and assigned a registration number and registration date. Registration grants you the exclusive right, Canada-wide, to use your trademark in association with the registered products and/or services.

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How long does my trademark registration last?

A trademark registration is valid for ten years and is renewable.

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How does renewal work?

You must pay a renewal fee every ten years to keep your trademark registration active. CIPO will send you a renewal reminder notice approximately six months before the deadline, but it’s a good idea to diarize the deadline (and a few reminders) in your personal calendar. If the renewal fee isn’t paid on time, your registration will be expunged (cancelled).

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Do I need a lawyer to renew my trademark registration?

No. You do not need a lawyer to renew your trademark registration. You can renew your trademark registration online simply by using CIPO’s trademark e-filing services.

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Are you a law firm?

Yes, we are a full-service law firm. With Heirlume, you’ll have actual lawyers guide you through the entire trademark application process.

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Will I be working with a lawyer?

Yes. You will be working with a senior-level agent or lawyer with top-tier law firm or in-house corporation experience. When it comes to successful trademark registration, experience is everything.

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How experienced are your people compared to a regular law firm?

In large law firms, trademark applications are handled by junior lawyers and ‘supervised’ by senior lawyers. Our philosophy is different: no juniors, only senior-level agents, and lawyers who’ve either worked at top-tier law firms or as in-house counsel for large corporations.  

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Why do I need help to file a trademark application?

Filing a trademark application can be a costly and complicated process, especially if your application is rejected or challenged. A professionally crafted and filed application can mean the difference between sailing through examination and receiving objections that can delay registration and increase your costs. When you hire us to help, you can count on getting the job done right.

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The application seems straightforward; can’t I just file it myself?

While you can file a trademark application without expert help, the reality is that over 80% of self-filed trademark applications fail to protect or fail completely. Even the most minor mistake can result in refusal or extensive delays. A properly filed application is crucial to successful trademark registration. The CIPO does not recommend self-filing and nor do we.  

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My business and brand mean a lot to me; how can I be sure that I can trust you?

Because we are backed by a law firm, you can rest assured that we are licensed, registered practitioners. We are members of the International Trademark Association (INTA) and verified by the Canadian and US Trademark Offices. See our ‘About Us’ page for more information.

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How high is your success rate?

We have handled thousands of applications and our success rate is very high.

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Do you guarantee success?

While we cannot guarantee success, we can guarantee expertise – and our expertise almost always results in success. The reality is, the ultimate decision about your Canadian trademark application is made by the CIPO.

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How do I find out if my trademark is available?

To be certain that your trademark is available (and to avoid potential conflicts), a pre-filing search should be conducted in each country where registration is desired to locate any existing trademarks that are similar to yours and used for similar products and/or services. Any search other than a full comprehensive trademark search (proper lawyer search) is risky.

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Do I need to register my brand name and logo separately?

A brand identity consists of three components that can be registered with the government: brand name, logo and tagline. Each component requires a separate trademark application. Word-based applications should be preceded by a trademark search to ensure your brand elements are unique within your market and business sector.

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If I can only afford to file one trademark application, should I protect my brand name or my logo?

If you can only afford to register one component of your brand, we recommend protecting your name over protecting your logo design. Keep in mind that when more than one application is ordered at the same time (for example: Name + Logo) you get a discounted rate.

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What does ‘CIPO’ stand for?

‘CIPO’ stands for the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Trademark applications in Canada are filed, examined, registered, and renewed with the CIPO.

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What is a trademark?

In a nutshell, a trademark is a mark that allows you to have a unique identity in the marketplace, any special element such as a logo, name, slogan that you use to promote and distinguish your business from others.

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Does my business need to be incorporated to file a trademark?

No. Any individual, organization, business, trade union or association may apply to register their mark. If you initially file under your personal name and later wish to change the owner to be your corporation, a simple request made to the CIPO is all that is required.

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What’s the difference between a trade name (either registered business name or incorporated name) and a trademark?

While these terms are easily confused, a ‘trade name’ is the name an individual or organization uses to conduct their business (it can be the registered business name or the incorporated name), while a ‘trademark’ is the unique ‘sign’ an individual or organization uses to distinguish their business in the marketplace and to identify their products and/or services.

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I registered my name as a domain. That means I own my name already, right?

Wrong. Simply registering a domain name does not make it a trademark. The domain name is still subject to infringement under trademark law. Under law, domains are ‘borrowed.’ This means that if there were a domain dispute, the owner of the associated trademark rights will gain a transfer of the domain.

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Why should I trademark my domain name?

Trademarks are more valuable than domain names. In fact, trademark ownership is required to truly own a domain name.

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Do I need to register my trademarks worldwide if I’m selling my products and/or services online?

Before looking at international trademark protection, you should first apply to register your trademark in your home country. If you primarily offer your products and/or services in North America, you should file your application in the US and Canada. Registering in North America first will give you stronger grounds for registration in other countries.

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How can I register my trademarks worldwide?

Trademarks can be registered worldwide via the Madrid International Trademark System offered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). There are over 100 countries that currently offer trademark protection under the Madrid System. You can select specific countries, or you can choose to protect your trademark in all applicable countries. For most of our clients, the Madrid System is far too expensive – it can cost tens of thousands in processing fees to register a trademark with the WIPO.

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When can I begin using the ™ symbol?

So long as your trademark search results are ‘clear’ (they indicate that your application is likely to succeed), we encourage you to launch your brand using the unregistered ™symbol.

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When can I use the ® symbol?

You can use the ® symbol beside your trademark only after it is registered. After successfully completing the application process, your trademark will be entered into the Register of Trademarks. The CIPO will send you a Certificate of Registration, which assigns your trademark’s official registration number and registration date. From that point onward, you can mark your trademark with the ® symbol (instead of the ™ symbol).

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What is the difference between common law and registered trademarks?

Registered trademark rights are protected by the Trademarks Act and valid and enforceable Canada-wide. They give the trademark owner exclusive rights and anyone seeking to challenge the registration must carry the burden of proof. Unregistered trademark rights are governed by common law and limited to the specific geographical area (city, town, region) in which the trademark is used. To enforce unregistered rights, it’s up to the owner to prove that their trademark has gained significant goodwill and reputation in that geographical area overtime. It is very difficult and expensive to enforce a common law trademark, and most common law owners involved in a trademark dispute end up giving up their rights altogether simply because it is too expensive to go to court.

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How does my first trademark application give me a priority advantage when filing my trademark in other countries?

You can use your first application to claim priority rights in your trademark if you file international trademark applications within six months. A ‘priority claim’ allows you to retain your first rights in your trademark based on the filing date of your first application. For example, if you filed your first trademark application in Canada, but also want US protection, you can defer filing a US trademark application for up to six months and claim the advantage of the earlier filing date of your Canadian application.

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How do I make a priority claim?

A priority claim is made by listing the country, application number, and filing date of the first application for the same trademark for substantially the same products and/or services.

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Navigating the world of trademarks can be tricky. So we’re breaking down everything you need to know about how trademarks work, and how you can get one.

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