Trademark restrictions

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office processes applications for trademarks in Canada under the Trademarks Act. However, a proposed trademark may include words that are restricted by other legislation in Canada.

We’re also responsible for approving company and business name requests under various acts.

Our role in trademark requests

OSFI is responsible for administering trademark restrictions under the Bank Act. These restrictions cover both identifying marks including any trademark or acronym. 

Restricted words

Words that are restricted under the Bank Act include:

  • bank
  • banker
  • banking

Other words (such as banc, mybank, and bancorp) may also be restricted.

You can use restricted words in a trademark or other identifying mark only if at least one of the following applies: 

Exceptions may be available

One type of common exception is the non-financial activity exception. This is for businesses, such as blood banks and food banks, who can use “bank” in their names, since their business activities aren’t financial in nature.

Contact us for more information

If you’d like more information about trademark restrictions, please contact us by email or regular mail.

Managing Director, Legislative Policy, Interpretations and Compliance
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions
255 Albert Street
Ottawa, Canada  K1A 0H2