Even small brands can be worth millions of dollars, so you would be surprised at their value. Businesses evaluate brands according to their value. When a company licenses a brand to another party, it gets to earn royalties and get constant word-of-mouth publicity about the brand. In order to collect these rights and more, you must register your trademark.
Can you imagine a scenario in which other businesses misused this brand name without your permission, and your only recourse was a lengthy and expensive legal proceeding? That shouldn’t happen, should it? Online trademark registrations can help you avoid this. You don’t need to do it. A trademark ensures that you have complete control over the name, logo, or slogan that you’ve trademarked.
Moreover, if you register the trademark, it is easier to establish your rights in court, saving you both time and legal fees. Are you still not convinced? If you don’t have a registered trademark for your brand, here are the three major ways it can be compromised.
Downsides of Not Having a Trademark Registration
Loss of Name Rights
A competitor could pick up your brand name and register it if you don’t trademark it. The other business could, if that happens, try to stop you from using that name, even though you were already using it. However, trademark laws do recognize the first user of the mark, which means that you may still be able to retain your rights to the name – after spending a lot of money on legal fees.
In any case, trademark rights in India are territorial, so unless you have been operating across the country, the courts may divide rights to the name according to geographic area. The other business, therefore, would have greater coverage if it has been operating under the name in a larger area of India. As an alternative, if you had registered the name early, you wouldn’t have encountered this problem.
Cause Confusion Among Consumers
New trademarks with similar sounds to existing trademarks can be challenged by their own owners. A company called Satyam Infoway Ltd was successfully able to get the courts to exclude Siffynet Solutions Pvt Ltd over consumer confusion concerns. People without a trademark registration do not have this right.
If that other brand succeeds more than you, your brand presence may be weakened since it is perfectly legal for them to operate in India (and even trademark the name itself). You may not even have recourse in such cases.
Is it possible that your domain name may be spelled differently by different people? Surely 100s. Successful domain names are often bought and sold. The phenomenon is so common that even a Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy (UDRP) was developed to deal with it. The UDRP or the courts may find it harder to prove that the various domain combinations (apex.org, example.net, example.biz) affect the rights of your business without a trademark. However, trademarks make it a lot easier.
The company, which runs under the domain name marksandspencer.com, has even managed to prevent the sale of this domain name.
In all three of these cases, you can see how trademark ownership has serious consequences. The first time either of them occurs, you need to immediately apply for a trademark, hire an attorney, and spend time and energy figuring out what to do. Trademarks will reduce these problems significantly and make them much cheaper. It would be unwise to register a trademark before the business has any traction, but once your business starts gaining traction, you should register the company name.