A tradename is any name by which you might operate your business if the name is different from your personal name or your company name. For example, you might have a sole proprietorship rather than operating under your personal name and you call it ABC Enterprises. You need to register the fact that you are using this business name as a tradename and you do that with a registry shop. Note that there is no protection afforded to you by doing this; it simply a means of identifying who is operating the business called ABC Enterprises.
A trademark on the other hand is protected by federal law under the Canadian Trademarks Act. We apply to register your trademark whether it is your personal name, the company name, a slogan or tagline, or anything that you use or want to use to make you distinct in the marketplace. Ideally, the trademark should be no more than 2 or 3 syllables to keep it as simple as possible. You want your trademark to be easy to recall by potential customers. The last thing you want is a trademark which is difficult to pronounce or understand or is nonsensical. You will not be allowed to register a trademark which is a generic description of your product or service. For example, you would not be allowed to register RED APPLES as a trademark for a business selling apples.
When your trademarks become registered, the government gives you a monopoly to use the trademark anywhere in Canada. This is not the same as a tradename which is protected only under common law in the specific area in which you are conducting your business, not across the entire country.
Trademarks can be sold or licensed because you own the trademark across the entire country. Tradenames cannot be easily sold or licensed, because you don’t own them. You are only using them for the time being.
Several people can own the same tradename across Canada or even in one city or province. This is not possible with a trademark which can only be owned by one person or corporation.
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By the way, if you want to control who is allowed to use your trademarks in the United States, we need to register your trademarks there. Note you do not need to operate a business in the United States in order to register your trademarks there. It is sufficient if your trademarks are being used are displayed in the US by way of franchise agreements, joint venture agreements, partnership agreements or trademark license agreements where you allow American businesses to use your trademarks.