Starting a Business in Canada

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Aug 15, 2011 - 1 minute read - legal

The Difference Between A Trade-Mark And A Trade Name

A trade name is the name under which a company does business. A numbered company like 123456789 Ontario Ltd. could conduct business under a name like Paul’s Ice Cream. Paul’s Ice Cream would be a trade name. The name would be registered with the proper authority but it would not be a trade-mark.

A trade-mark is used to identify a product or service. If Paul called his ice cream True North Vanilla and True North Chocolate, True North could be considered a trade-mark. He would be well advised to register the trade-mark if he felt it was essential to his branding and marketing because proof of ownership would be much easier if there ever was a dispute.

In our example, Paul’s Ice Cream wouldn’t be a trade-mark because it is not directly used to identify a product or service. True North would be a trade-mark because of its close association with the product. The difference between these two names might seem like a small issue but it is important because intellectual property can be quite valuable. It can form part of a business’s competitive advantage and it should be properly protected.