Before you go to the trouble and expense of creating a trademark for your company and then trying the register it with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office, you should do business name searches and make sure that your trademark or planned trademark does not violate any registering rules. Here are some features of trademarks that are not allowed to be registered in Canada. Try to avoid all of these features in order to have success when registering.

1. Only Has Names

If your trademark only contains a name, such as “John Smith,” you will not be able to register the trademark. This is because being allowed to register names as trademarks in confusing and could cause problems for those who have the same name as a name that was trademarked. You are, however, allowed to register a combination of name and other words, such as “John Smith’s Pizza.” You can also register a name if your name is commonly used as a proper noun, a noun, or a verb.

2. Includes Words Commonly Used to Describe Whatever You Are Selling

If your trademark contains words that are inherently characteristics of whatever it is you are trying to sell, then you will not be allowed to use the trademark. For example, if you try to name your cotton candy store “Sweet Cotton Candy,” you will not be allowed to trademark this name because if you did, then no other cotton candy vendor would be allowed to use the word sweet to describe their cotton candy. However, you could use the word “wholesome” in your trademark because most people would not use the word wholesome to describe an inherent quality of cotton candy.

3. Includes Descriptive Words That Don’t Actually Apply to Your Product

Another feature to avoid is using words that don’t actually apply to your product. For example, if you were to try to trademark the name “Hand-Sewn Camisoles” for your thin tank tops, but they are actually made by machines for 95% of the production process, you will not be allowed to use the name. This is because the name is misleading and does not really apply to your product. This rule is designed to prevent consumers from seeing trademarks that do not fully represent the truth.

4. Geographic Words that Ordinarily Apply to Your Product

Finally, you cannot use geographic words that would ordinarily apply to your product, like Florida for oranges. You could, however, use a geographic term that is not commonly associated with your product, such as Italy for viking swords. This is similar to how you cannot use descriptive words that are ordinarily associated with your product.

For more information, talk to a company that specializes in helping people register trademarks.