What Is The Difference Between Registered And Unregistered Trademarks?

Well, before discussing the registered and unregistered trademarks, let’s see what the trademark is. The trademark generally refers to the brand or logo. It is a unique expression related to a product or service that differentiates it from others. Trademark registration can be done for a business name, unique catch phrases, taglines or captions, a combination of colors and different letters, even smell. Trademark gives a company/business separate identity. If they are properly used and promoted, a Trademark can become one of the most valuable assets. Trademarks indicate the origin as well as the quality of the goods. Some popular trademarks include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Canon, Dell, etc.

It is important to register your trademark for business. Any person can apply who claim to be the owner of the trademark. A person can be a proprietor, individual, company or legal entity. The application for trademark files within a few days and you can start using “TM” ( for goods) or “SM” (for services) symbol. Once your trademark is registered and registration certificate is issued, you can use the ® (Registered symbol) next to your trademark.

A Trademark can be classified into two types that are:

  • Unregistered Trademark
  • Registered Trademark

An unregistered trademark refers to the mark enforced and created by a business or individual to signify or distinguish the product or service in the market but it does not provide a strong security to the product or service.

Difference between Registered and Unregistered Trademarks


Unregistered trademark does not provide strong security to the product or service. On the other hand, Registered trademark provides security.

use of “TM”

In unregistered trademark, the owner can use the symbol TM to make it known that it is a trademark but the people will know that it is an unregistered trademark and it does not have legal protection equal to the registered trademarked product. There are many products which are in the market that are an unregistered trademark but which can be differentiated with the symbol ‘TM’ alone whereas products with symbol ‘R’ just after the ‘TM’ is a sign that the product is a registered trademark.

Rights to the Owner

A registered trademark brings or we can say gives many rights to the registered owner like exclusive use of the mark with complete protection of the mark in the market. Trademark registration is not a mandatory requirement. A trademark can register for a period of ten years and after that, the registration can renew. The whole procedure of registration in India is done according to New Indian Trademark Registration Rule 2017


A trademark registered for a product or service provides more legal protection as compared to the unregistered.  According to the law, a registered mark gets preference over an unregistered trademark making it more secure. For the time period of ten years, Organization can create a good brand image or goodwill in the market.

Hence we can say that a trademark whether it is registered or unregistered but it is important to apply for trademark registration and create goodwill for the organization and every new business, individual or any legal entity should apply for a trademark making it easy to survive in the market.

Related Article- Trademark law – an overview