Is it necessary to register a trademark?

Registering a trademark is essential to protect any trademark of goods or services and to prevent fraudulent use of them. 

A trademark is one of the biggest assets of any business in terms of intellectual property. Although technically, the registration of a trademark is not compulsory. It is however advised to register your trademark to ensure proper protection and optimal benefit to your business. There are numerous advantages of registering a trademark in India and also certain disadvantages for not registering the same.  

Advantages of registering a trademark

1. It provides an exclusive right to the owner to use the trademark in relation to the goods or services in respect of which the trademark is registered.

2. It prevents from infringement of the trademark, as registration allows for the owner to initiate legal proceedings.

3. A registered trademark is published in the Trademark Database or Trademark Registry publications, this avoids further chances of infringement as others are aware of the existing trademark. In cases someone else tries to register the same brand name as existing in the Trademark Registry, it would be objectionable in the Trademark's Office.

4. Further in a legal proceeding, the registration acts as a strong proof of the existence of the trademark right and its validity. Thus, it protects from infringement claims by others.

5. The registration of a trademark establishes trust amongst the public and especially in the market. Customers and investors can be assured with the busines’ quality and goodwill.

6. Furthermore, for international registration of a trademark, registering in the domestic country can act as a premise and shows established reputation. This is especially important considering expansion opportunities.

7. Like any other property, the registration gives the trademark a legal validity as an asset which can be sold, franchised, licensed and can be used in many other commercial contracts.
8. The registration also allows for the use the symbol  for goods and services listed in the registration.

Disadvantages of not registering a trademark 

1. If a trademark is not registered, one cannot institute any proceeding to prevent, or to recover damages for, the infringement of an unregistered trademark.

2. Furthermore, in a litigation suit against your trademark, you will have to go to greater lengths in proving its validity in absence of registration. It has to be proved that there is goodwill and reputation attached to your unregistered trademark and that the mark has a reputation to the extent that it signifies the distinctiveness of the trademark.

3. Without registration, one cannot easily sell, franchise or license the trademark. This heavily hinders any expansion or growth prospects of the business.

4. It is also difficult for the public to identify any goodwill associated with the trademark and may often doubt the quality of goods or services associated with it.

5. There is no designated official symbol like  provided for goods and services to establish quality.

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