Want to know the Difference Between Unregistered and Registered Trademark?

Published On: Mar 5, 2019Last Updated: Mar 8, 20244.7 min read


A Trademark helps to differentiate goods or services; while giving them an identity. It gives the right to ownership of such products and services. The question being, does a registered trademark give the holder ownership rights or can an unregistered trademark holder also own such rights? Let’s explore the issue at length in this article on Trademark Registration – we will explain in detail the differences between a registered and unregistered trademark, and why it is important to go for Trademark Registration.

What is a registered trademark?

It’s important to know what actually registered and unregistered trademarks are before discussing them. A brand name or logo registered under the Trademark Act is a registered trademark. There is an exhaustive list of what can be trademarked. Registering a trademark adds value to products and services. Such a trademark is an asset of the owner. It has a statutory right against infringement. It is always better to have a registered trademark. The validity of a registered trademark is 10 years from the date of application. The owner has to renew it every 10 years.

What is an unregistered trademark?

Now, onto the second thing you need to evaluate a registered vs unregistered trademark, what is an unregistered Trademark? An unregistered trademark is any mark – such as a word, symbol, logo, or device, that identifies goods or services but is not registered with the Trademark Act. Unregistered trademarks have limited rights of protection compared to registered trademarks. It is protected by common law but it does not have infringement rights. This is one of the most important differences between a registered and unregistered trademark. They can prevent others from using a similar trademark under the law of Passing off.

Registered vs unregistered trademark

The difference between a registered Trademark and an unregistered trademark are very important to understand. Our exhaustive list of difference between registered trademark and unregistered trademark can further explain:

A. Validity

The first and main difference between registered and unregistered trademark is that a registered trademark is valid all over India; with no need to prove its existence or goodwill in the market. But in unregistered trademark, one has to prove its existence in the market. It helps to claim the goodwill of the brand name. Also, they are limited to a particular region only, since they are not well-known enough. Hence it is difficult to prove their existence outside their specific region.

B. Protection

Both registered and unregistered trademarks get different protection under different laws. Registering a trademark provides protection under the Trademark Act. Moreover, the validity of a trademark registration is applicable to a specific class or classes. Hence the protection is available in such a particular class or classes. So no one else can use a similar brand name for any goods or services of the same class. With an unregistered trademark, the person has no protection for any particular products or services. Hence there is a possibility of usage of similar brand name for the same products or services.

C. Right to sue others

Registered Trademark owners can use the “R” symbol on its brand name. It increases the authenticity of products and services. Such products or services are known as quality products or services. The unregistered trademark can use the “Ô” symbol on its brand name. It shows that the brand is not registered and it does not have any legal protection.

D. Use of sign

Finally, between a registered and unregistered trademark, registered Trademark owners can use the “R” symbol on its brand name. It increases the authenticity of products and services. We popularly know such products or services as quality products or services.  The unregistered trademark can use the “Ô” symbol on its brand name. It shows that the brand is not registered and it does not have any legal protection.

Benefits of Trademark Registration:

There are many advantages of Trademark Registration:

  • Exclusive Legal Safeguard: The process of trademark registration in Kolkata confers exclusive rights, ensuring legal protection against unauthorized usage. This exclusive privilege becomes a cornerstone in fiercely competitive markets, acting as a robust shield for the brand’s distinct identity. This is one of the most important differences between registered and unregistered trademark.
  • Trust and Positive Perception:  The registration of trademarks plays a crucial role in building trust and fostering goodwill among consumers. A distinctive trademark aids in forging a positive consumer perception by associating the brand with quality, simplifying consumer decision-making and enhancing overall brand image.
  • Product and Service Distinctiveness: In Kolkata, registering a trademark becomes essential for differentiating your products or services from those offered by competitors. It becomes a strategic move to establish a unique market presence.
  • Recognition of Quality: Consumers usually link perceived quality to a brand’s name and logo. A registered trademark strengthens this association, facilitating easier recognition and trust in the quality of the brand’s offerings.
  • Creation of Tangible Asset: Alongwith the protective function, a registered trademark becomes a tangible asset for the company; contributing significantly to the overall valuation of the business, portraying the brand as a valuable and singular entity. This is a key difference between registered and unregistered trademark.
  • Use of ® Symbol Authority: The utilization of the ® symbol signifies the registered status of the trademark, affirming that no other entity can employ a similar mark. This not only adds a layer of legal authority but also underscores the distinctiveness of the brand.


The differences between registered and unregistered trademarks mentioned above will ensure a proper decision on whether to register a trademark or not. An unregistered trademark does not have any statutory right. Hence a registered trademark is always advantageous.

Trademark Related Services

Trademark Related Services

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CS Shivani Vyas
About the Author

CS Shivani Vyas

Shivani is a Company Secretary at Legalwiz.in with an endowment towards content writing. She has proficiency in the stream of Company Law and IPR. In addition to that she holds degree of bachelors of Law and Masters of commerce.

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