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Trademark

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A trademark is one or many words, sounds or designs used to distinguish the goods or services of one organization from those of others. It is a highly valuable and important asset because, over time, a trademark can represent not only a company’s products or services but also its brand, goodwill and reputation.

In Canada, a trademark can be registered with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO). Registration gives a company the exclusive rights to use that trademark across Canada for 10 years. It can be renewed every 10 years after that.

More about trademarks

Trademarks may be separated into three categories:

  • Ordinary mark—words, sounds or designs used to distinguish a company’s products or services
  • Certification mark—a trademark that can be licensed to many people or companies to show that certain products or services meet a defined standard
  • Distinguishing guise—the shape of a product or its container, or a way of wrapping or packaging a product to indicate it was made by a specific company

Related definitions

Find out more in our glossary

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