Trademark a Name

Trademark a Word or Trademark a phrase.

What is a Word Trademark?

Name Trademarks are also known as word/phrase trademarks.

When you use one or more words, without any artistic design elements, it is a Word Trademark.

Examples of word trademark: Company names, business names, names of organizations, product names, names of a individuals, names of TV shows and names of Radio Shows.

Examples of Phrase Trademarks include business slogans and tag lines

How to Trademark a Name?

There are some basic points to consider when choosing a word trademark or a phrase trademark.

Consideration must be given to the following while you trademark a name:

A Word/Phrase Trademark:

  • Cannot be clearly descriptive of your products or services
  • Has to be unique


Trademark law prevents registration of marks that are too descriptive of the associated products and/or services. For instance, you would not be permitted to register LIMO SERVICE or LIMOSERVICE.CA in association with your limousine service.

NOTE: Using 'CANADIAN' or 'CANADA' as the only distinctive part of your name will normally result in a clearly descriptive decision. For instance, CANADIAN GOLF ACCESSORIES is still clearly descriptive of Canadian golf accessories.


It is also not permitted to register a trademark that is deceptively "misdescriptive". For example, ABC CLEANING SERVICES filed in association with a candy company could be considered deceptively "misdescriptive" since the name is misleading.


The more creative or unique the distinctive part of your name, the better your chances are of avoiding conflict with other marks and the stronger your trademark will be.

  1. An invented, made-up word (E.g. XEROX, KLEENEX, etc.) is the best type of trademark.
  2. A word used fancifully is the next best. (For example, PHOENIX in association with automobile repair.) It is not completely made up, but nobody else is using it in the same way that you are.
  3. A combination of two existing words, I.E., "HELITOURS" or "MEDICLEAN", may still be acceptable as the distinctive element for your name, but could still be judged "clearly descriptive" if it is too obvious.
  4. The weakest kind of trademarks that are potentially acceptable are descriptive, but not specifically descriptive, of the wares and services to be covered. An example of this is "QUICK MELT" as a trademark for rock salt. Again, you need to be very careful that your mark is not "clearly descriptive".

Register a Name Trademark

Registration to trademark a name usually involves:

  1. A preliminary search of existing trade-marks;
  2. An application;
  3. An examination of your application by the Trade-marks Office;
  4. Publishing of the application in the Trade-marks Journal;
  5. Time for opposition (challenges) to the application; and
  6. Allowance and registration (if there is no opposition).

More on Trademark Procedure | FAQ on Trademark Types

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