Small business

Frequently asked questions

Should the business be incorporated federally or provincially?

If your business will be located or operate regularly in more than one province or in foreign countries, it may be best to incorporate under federal law. This allows you to carry on business in all Canadian provinces without a special license, although a simple registration may still be required in some provinces.

If you plan to operate mostly within one province, a provincial incorporation will likely suit you. If you do business in another province, however, you may have to register it there and may be required to obtain an extra-provincial licence.

How do I register a name for my business?

If you operate your sole proprietorship under a name other than your own name, the law requires that you register the business name. After you conduct a name search to ensure that the name you want is not being used, you can then register your business with your provincial ministry of industry.

What is a patent?

A patent is legal protection for something you’ve invented. It gives you the right to prevent others from selling, making or using your creation for a limited period of time. In return for that protection, an inventor fully discloses the details of the invention to the government. Those details become available to the public, but nobody else can copy your product for 20 years.

Why should I register a trademark?

You are not required to register a trademark with the Office of the Registrar of Trademarks at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) to have a legal right to use it. Many trademarks are established simply because they are used for a period. However, if there is a dispute about who owns the trademark, it may be more difficult to prove your ownership and protect your rights if your trademark is not registered.

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