Canadian Trade-mark Law/Introduction

The trade-mark regime in Canada, like most common law countries, is used to protect distinctive marks and signs that are used to identify a company, product, or service. Similar to copyright law, trade-mark law is primarily statute based. The application and registration process are governed by the Trade-marks Act and the Trade-marks Regulations. However, unlike copyright, there is common law protection behind the statutory power, and it has a foundation derived from a related area of tort law known as passing off, which prevents others from appropriating the marketable image from other companies.

"In addition, there is a miscellany of statutes that, while not in the Trade-marks Act, may affect the trade-mark process and registrability. Also, on an international level, Canada is signatory to several treaties or agreements relating to trade-marks. (page 1-1 Odutola on Canadian Trade-mark Practice)" Relevant statutes are as follows: the Bank Act, the Canada Agricultural Products Act, the Meat Inspection Act, the Geneva Conventions Act, Canada Post Corporations Act, Criminal Code, Food and Drugs Act, Food and Drug Regulations and the Precious Metals Marking Act. (page 1-2 Odutola on Canadian Trade-mark Practice)