FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS What Are Official Marks in Canada?

Unique to Canada, Official Marks are an obscure subset of trademarks.

The Canadian government, some government-controlled entities, and universities can register a public or official trademark without facing the same rigors as everyone else.


How Are Official Marks Different?

The main difference between Official Marks and other trademarks is that they do not represent any particular goods or services; They cover everything.

For example, if a university registers an official mark for that name, they can prevent anyone from using it as their trademark. It does not matter how unrelated to studies or education the products or services are. They can prevent anyone from selling under the same name.

This concept is entirely different from ordinary trademarks and gives significant power to these government entities to grant or deny consent to use their mark. Sometimes they will allow usage, occasionally, they will require payment for the privilege, and often the answer is no.

Official Marks Never Expire

A significant difference between official marks and standard trademarks is that Official Marks never expire. They are forever, whether they are in use or not. You cannot cancel an Official Mark for lack of use.

Even if a government entity got its Official Mark 25 years ago, and the agency and its name no longer exist, that Official Mark will still prevent you from registering your trademark if you are a typical business.

It seems unfair that government entities should face less scrutiny regarding their brands and trademark registration than everyone else, but that is our current situation.


If you have a brand that coincides with an Official Mark, you will likely be unable to register your trademark. Your best chance is to write to the owner requesting their consent to use the mark.

If they say yes, you can file your application and should receive your trademark. If they say no, don't bother, it will not happen.

Official Marks are only one of the many critical quirks in trademark law. Don't spend your precious time and resources attempting to learn and navigate the bureaucracy.

Instead, join us at Trademark Factory®, and our all-inclusive 100% cash-back guarantee of trademark registration success. Control your costs with our flat rate and save countless hours with our professional trademark attorneys and trademarking staff doing all the work instead of you.

Contact us today to learn more!


Disclaimer: Please note that this post and this video are not and are not intended as legal advice. Your situation may be different from the facts assumed in this post or video. Your reading this post or watching this video does not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and Trademark Factory International Inc., and you should not rely on this post or this video as the only source of information to make important decisions about your intellectual property.