What Does It Cost To Register a Trademark in Canada?
Registering a trademark in Canada normally entails up to three types of costs: official fees, professional fees, and taxes.
Official fees are the fees payable to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. There is a trademark application filing fee of $336 CAD for the first class of goods and services in your Canadian trademark application. For each class of goods and services beyond the first, there is a further cost of $102 CAD per class payable when filing your application.
It should be noted that a trademark registration covering a larger number of classes, or areas of commerce, will entail higher official fees and most likely also higher professional fees. But it is also a trademark registration having a broader scope of exclusive rights and correspondingly a trademark registration of greater value.
This is analogous to the cost to build a 4000 square foot house being more than the cost to build a 2000 square foot house, all else being equal. There is just more time (professional fees) and materials (official fees) involved in building a bigger asset, which will ultimately be worth more.
Professional fees are those fees payable to your registered trademark agent, who is often also a trademark lawyer, for their professional services helping you with registering your trademark. There are professional fees to prepare and file your trademark application, as well as fees during the trademark examination phase (sometimes referred to as trademark prosecution), and the approval, advertisement, allowance and registration phases.
In most trademark applications, most of the professional fees are incurred in preparing your application for filing and in the trademark examination phase. Some professional firms will charge a single fee for preparing and filing a trademark application irrespective of the number of classes and others will charge an additional fee for each additional class of goods and services included in your application beyond the first.
The professional fees incurred in the trademark examination phase will depend on the number of examiner’s reports you have to respond to and the nature and complexity of the objections made by the trademark examiner in his or her report. If you are seeking to maximize the scope of protection granted by your registration with a high number of goods and services crossing many trademark classes, you are more likely to face more objections from the trademark examiner than in an application with fewer classes of goods and services.
Moreover, the nature of the trademark with respect to where it falls on the spectrum between descriptive and inherently distinctive and whether it is similar to other trademarks registered in overlapping areas of commerce will factor in the number and nature of objections you have to respond to.
If a third party opposes your approved trademark application during the advertisement period, there will also be professional fees incurred in the trademark opposition proceeding. While relatively rare (2-5% of applications are opposed), trademark oppositions are a quasi-litigation proceeding which can entail significant costs in the tens (and sometimes hundreds) of thousands of dollars if fully fought out between the parties.
An opposition by a third party will well exceed any initial budget you had set for registering your trademark. Accordingly, a trademark search and opinion in which you obtain an opinion from a trademark professional that there is a low risk of conflict in adopting and using a trademark in Canada is a valuable way to manage and reduce your risk of facing a trademark opposition during the trademark application process.
Professional fees are taxable in Canada such that HST or GST is payable based on the rate of HST or GST in the province or territory the service is supplied to. This is where you as the client operate your business. It does not matter if the law firm providing the service to your business is located in a different province. If your business is located outside of Canada, there is no tax on professional fees.
Also note for Canadian businesses that the tax you pay on professional services is offset against the tax you collect and are required to remit when selling your goods and services. Thus, it may not be considered an expense although tax will impact cash position. This is especially the case for pre-revenue businesses which many businesses are when filing their first trademark application in Canada.
There is no tax on official fees paid to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
Just Tell Me the All-In Cost Already
The majority of trademarks can be registered in Canada for somewhere between $3000-$5000 CAD (exclusive of tax) spread out over a period of three or more years.
Like with many types of services, you get what you pay for with professional service firms. Low-cost options are nearly always low service and/or low expertise options, which can lead to undesirable outcomes such as refused applications, defective registrations or simply trademark rights of lesser value as insufficient consideration was given to maximize the scope of protection and the value to your business.
Is Trademark Registration Worth the Money?
The enhanced trademark protection granted by registering your trademarks has been shown to raise the profitability of a business by 1.7% and the valuation of a business by 11.9%, so trademark registration is often money well spent.
Even small businesses between $100,000 to $2,000,000 in annual revenue will in most instances have valuations between one to ten times profits. Accordingly, once a business has $100,000 or more in annual profit, it is usually already making an over 100% return on their investment of registering their primary trademark (for the trade name of the business) in Canada. And unlike assets which depreciate, like computers, office furniture and automobiles, the value of a trademark registration almost always appreciates as a business grows.
If you would like to learn more about how to get a trademark registration in Canada or the United States, contact us now for a complimentary and confidential initial telephone appointment.