Whether it is an app, a product or service, a life-changing service or a song that you wrote, if you value it and you came up with it then you need to let the world know that it’s yours. There are several ways to do this and trademarks and copyright happen to be some of the common ways to safeguard yourself. Which one should you choose? We will try to answer this question as we discuss both forms of intellectual property.


Copyright protects original artistic, dramatic, literary or musical works as well as performances. Usually, the person that creates these works owns the copyright to them. However, production houses and record labels may also own copyright to productions and music that they create.

What does Copyright Protect?

The following works are covered by copyright:

  • Literary works (any work that is in text form)
  • Musical works (irrespective of whether or not they have words)
  • Dramatic works (films, plays and their scripts)
  • Artistic works (drawings, maps, logos, designs, painting etc.)
  • Performers’ performances

What is the Lifespan of Copyright?

A copyright will usually last for the lifetime of an author plus the remaining months of the year that the author dies plus 50 years from the year that the author dies. There are however a number of exceptions to this rule that can be found when copyrighting.

How to Apply for Copyright

You may begin by conducting a search of the Copyrights Database online to make sure that no one else is laying claim to your work. You can then fill out application forms that are available online or you can also seek help from law companies that specialize in these matters. Some of the details that you will be required to provide include:

  • Title of the work
  • Category of the work (Literary, Musical, Artistic or Dramatic)
  • Publication date and place
  • Name and address of the owner
  • Name of the author

Once your forms are duly completed you will be required to pay a one-time fee and submit your application. However, you may need the services of an intellectual property lawyer in order to fully understand the process and legal implications of copyright.


Trademarks protect brands and they can be one or many words, sounds or designs that distinguish your brand from that of your competitors. Their value is immense since to your customer your trademark is you and you therefore do not want anyone to misuse it.

Types of Trademarks

Trademarks come in three forms:

  • Ordinary Trademarks are the words, designs or sounds that define your brand.
  • Certification Trademarks are marks that are used to show that certain goods have met some defined guidelines.
  • Distinguishing Guise deals with the shape or packaging of products that is unique to the company or you personally.

What is the Lifespan of a Trademark?

A trademark is usually valid for about 15 years from the date of registration. One the fifteen years are up, you must renew it after every 15 years and pay a fee for it.

What Can You Register?

There is an act called the Trade-marks act that gives clear guidelines on what qualifies to be a trademark  but there are quite a number of things that won’t make the cut including:

  • Names and surnames
  • Geographical locations or places of origin
  • Marks or words that could easily be confused for trademarks that already exist or are pending approval
  • Marks or words that are similar to official designs, names and emblems like flags of countries or emblems of well-established organizations, etc.

How to Apply for a Trademark

The best way to begin your application process is by searching the database of Canadian trademarks as this will guide you on whether or not you need to amend your trademark to avoid legal troubles. With the issue of originality sorted you can then proceed to fill out your application forms and pay a fee known as the filing fee. Your application will go through a rigorous vetting process before you are issued with a certificate of registration. Consequently, it is advisable to hire a registered trademark lawyer to assist you with your application.