Trademark Primer

What is a trademark?

A trademark is like an identification badge that distinguishes one party’s products or services from those of others in the marketplace. For example, KRAFT DINNER® is a trademark used by Kraft Canada Inc. to distinguish its macaroni and cheese product from macaroni and cheese products made by others. Most commonly, trademarks are two-dimensional symbols, such as written text (e.g. a word or slogan) or a logo, which are displayed on products or associated with services to identify their source to consumers. Some less common types of trademarks include sounds, scents, colours and three-dimensional shapes, which can also serve as source identifiers.

Trademark rights are typically created by actual “use” of the trademark on products or in association with services. A trademark is “used” in association with products when the products are sold with the trademark displayed on the products themselves, on the packaging for the products, or in association with the products in some other manner at the time the products exchange hands in the usual course of trade. A trademark is “used” in association with services when the trademark is displayed during the performance of the services or displayed in the advertising of the services.

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