Difference Between Registered and Unregistered Trademarks

Trademarks can be considered a combination or amalgamation of two or more combinations that could include words, sounds or designs that help you distinguish your company or organisation from the rest. Trademarks not only help you represent the goods and services that you provide as an organisation but also help you build yourself a reputation in the market. A trademark is considered as a valuable intellectual property.

Before moving onto the differences, its important to understand what a trademark constitutes and what it doesn’t.

There are three types of trademarks:

Ordinary mark: Ordinary mark constitutes of words, sounds, designs or a combination of all of the above that helps organisations create a niche for themselves. For instance: If you started with a business and named it “artey”, you would be able to register these words as a trademark after going through the necessary legal requirements.

Certification mark: The certification mark can be used by any individual or an organisation for the specific purpose of identifying certain goods or services that are able to meet a predefined standard.

Distinguishing guise: This mark comprises the shaping of goods or their containers. It might also include a mode of wrapping and packaging goods that would help them being distinguished as product that is produced by a specific manufacturer.

However, be careful not to confuse trademarks with other forms of intellectual property like patents, industrial designs, copyright, and integrated circuit topographies.

Registered trademark vs Unregistered trademark

When you register your trademark, you are granted the exclusive right of using the mark for a period of 15 years. The registration can be renewed after every 15 years.

A trademark is considered registered if it has been entered in the Register of Trademarks. All trademarks that are formally applied and registered in Canada are maintained in The Register of Trademarks. If you have been using a particular mark for a certain period of time, then your ownership of the mark is established under common law.

If your trademark is unregistered, which means that it is not registered with the Register of Trademarks, then you face certain disadvantages. For instance, if your trademark is unregistered, then you don’t have any prima facie evidence of ownership. This evidence makes it easier to prove that you have been using the mark longer than someone else and provides as a deterrent to other businesses from using your trademark.

If you are looking to gain more information regarding trademarks, then you can visit the Canadian Intellectual Property website. If you are looking to register your trademark in Canada and need help, then get in touch with us and we’ll take you through the process swiftly.