Intellectual property law: An overview for immigrant entrepreneurs

posted on March 20, 2020

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

Did you know immigrants who have been in Canada for 10 to 30 years have higher rates of private incorporated company ownership than those born in Canada?

If you’re a new Canadian thinking of starting a business, or having already started a business, it’s important to consider your intellectual property and how you can best protect it in Canada. Remember, a small business today may not consider protecting its trademark a key priority, but every successful business starts somewhere.

Consider one of Canada’s most successful immigrant entrepreneurs for instance. Robert Herjavec immigrated to Canada from Ukraine, started a business, and is now CEO of one of North America’s fastest-growing technology companies, Herjavec Group. The company’s name and trademark, Herjavec Group, now constitutes a very valuable asset of the business.

Understanding the basics

In Canada, intellectual property law is primarily under federal jurisdiction, which means the same set of rules applies everywhere across the country.

Canada is party to a number of international treaties and agreements relating to intellectual property which impose reciprocal relationships between countries and simplify international protection, however, please note that these do not preclude the existence of unique formal requirements for protection within Canada.

A familiarity with Canada’s intellectual property law is important not only to ensure that you’re properly protected yourself, but also to avoid infringing on the rights of others. For example, the absence of a copyright notice in Canada does not necessarily mean the work in question is in the public domain and free for you to use. Taking an unmarked image for use on your website or in your marketing efforts can lead to liability for infringement of the author’s copyright.

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