The Canadian government source of information for trademarking is the Canadian Intellectual Property Office; the American government source of information for trademarking is the United States Patent and Trademark Office .
The Canadian website had a 16 page Guide to Trademarks , which included sections on “Making Sure Your Trade-Mark can be Registered”, “The Trade-Mark Registration Process”, “Tariffs and Fees”(its cheapest to make an application for registration online) and a page of “FAQ’s”. That Guide seems to have been completely rewritten this year, as its now 42 pages.
The “FAQ’s” explains such things as “What is the difference between a registered and an unregistered trade-mark? Registration is proof of ownership. An unregistered trade-mark may also be recognized through Common Law as the property of the owner, depending on the circumstances”.
The Guide is easy to understand by a person with no prior experience in the area ( me), although the shorter version was more approachable. The new version includes a glossary of terms, which would have been useful to me, as the application itself refers to “wares” and I didn’t have a clue what a “ware” was. The new version also has 2 completed sample applications.
What the Guide didn’t prepare me for was the scrutiny of Intellectual property lawyers! We received letters from THREE different intellectual property chasing lawyers. The last one was scary. Our original application was rejected, as we use the term “Smartphone” in it ( its a registered Trademark, I thought it was a generic term). We resubmitted the application in February, but the scary letter came in March saying” You received an objection to your trade-mark application to which you have not successfully responded”. Oooohh, we didn’t know we hadn’t successfully responded. However, the scary lawyer’s letter was incorrect, they appeared to be “trying to drum up business” and $450 later, we now own the Canadian registered trade mark Thornies.