An application is filed by the Trademark Agent with the Canadian Trademarks Office. There are no provincial trademark registrations in Canada. People sometimes speak of registering their name in Victoria. This refers to trade names or business names and not to trademarks. Registration in Victoria confers no right to use the name as a trademark. Federal trademark laws take priority.
After the application is filed, the Trademarks Office sends a filing notice which merely acknowledges receipt of the application and gives a filing date and an application number.
A few months later, the application is reviewed by an Examiner at the Trademarks Office who conducts another search to see if there other confusing marks. If a confusing trademark is not found, and there are no other objections, such as descriptiveness or that the mark is a surname, then the trademark is approved for advertisement in the Trademarks Journal. If objections are made, then the Examiner sends an Examiner’s Report listing objections to registration. A period of time, usually six months, is given to respond. Often an experienced trademark agent can overcome objections by presenting arguments in favour of registration of the trademark.
The Trademarks Journal is published by the Trademarks Office and lists trademarks which the Office proposes registering. Other parties then have the opportunity to oppose the registration of the published marks, usually on the grounds of prior use or registration of a similar trademark.
If an opposition is filed, which occurs in only a small percentage of cases, the matter is decided by opposition proceedings. These are generally similar to a trial but are conducted mainly by written submissions and are much less expensive.
If no opposition is filed, then the trademark application is allowed. If the trademark was already in use at the time the application was filed, then the only remaining step is paying the registration fee. If the trademark was not in use at the time the application was filed, then it is also necessary to file a declaration stating that use of the trademark has started.