Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Goodwill Definition:

An intangible business asset which includes a cultivated reputation and consequential attraction and confidence of repeat customers and connections.

Related Terms: Trademark, Passing-Off

In his 2012 article, C. Wilson described goodwill as follows:

"Goodwill has been defined as the benefit and advantage of the good name, reputation and connection of a business, the attractive force which brings in customers...."

In many cases, goodwill is used interchangeably with the word reputation.

A claim for the tort of passing off usually includes an allegation that the defendant's actions depreciated the plaintiff's goodwill.

The Canadian Trade-marks Act (at canlii.org/ca/sta/t-13/), at ¶20 (extract only):

"The right of the owner of a registered trade-mark to its exclusive use shall be deemed to be infringed by a person not entitled to its use under this Act who sells, distributes or advertises wares or services in association with a confusing trade-mark or trade-name ...  in such a manner as is not likely to have the effect of depreciating the value of the goodwill attaching to the trade-mark."


  • Wilson, C., An Overview of Intellectual Property, 70 Adv. 361 at 362 (2012)

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