Copyrights and trademarks are forms of intellectual properties. To get a better understanding, we can define these as intangible assets. In other words, these are mind creations, such as inventions, works of literature and art, designs, symbols, names, and images used in trade. However, despite the similarities, copyrights and trademarks are different in terms of assets they protect. Also, these two have contrasting registration processes. Both copyright and trademarks (as well as patents) protect a private, group, or business’s intellectual property—the difference between the two, however, lies in what they specifically protect. Copyrights protect original works like novels, songs, movies, and software, whereas trademarks protect words, phrases, symbols, or designs that distinguish a specific brand as compared to others—including things like brand names, logos, and slogans.
We now know what these intellectual properties are and how they are different from each other, but is it compulsory to register as a trademark or copyright?
Let us find it out!
In the eyes of the law, Trademark registration is not compulsory. Registration, however, is strongly indicative of the ownership of the mark under registration. Furthermore, to be particular, no suits can be filed for breach of unregistered trademarks. Similarly, the acquisition of copyright is automatic, and no formality is required. Copyright comes into existence as soon as work is created, and no formalities are needed for copyright acquisition. Nevertheless, the copyright registration certificate and the entries made therein serve as provable evidence in a court of law regarding a copyright ownership dispute.
Is Registration Compulsory under Trademark?
Trademark registration and copyright registration is not mandatory in India, but it is recommended to do so. Any party claimed to be the owner of a trademark could submit an appeal for registration of a trademark in India, including individuals, corporate entities, proprietary or alliance companies, start-ups, small enterprises, and trusts. A trademark is a distinguishing symbol or symbol used by a person or an entity that refers to articles of commerce to distinguish the goods of one merchant from those of others.
Is Registration Compulsory under Copyright?
Copyright is a form of intellectual property that grants the author the sole right to produce copies of artistic works, typically for a finite period of time. Creative work may be in a literary, visual, educational, or musical context. Copyright is designed to preserve the initial representation of an idea in the context of an artistic product, but not the idea itself.
Moving further, one should make a note that registration gives a monopoly right to the mark in a particular territory. It allows the owner of a registered trademark to prevent unauthorized use of his marks concerning products or services. The infringement of registered trademarks can lead to legal suits, and the burden of proof of the plaintiff is eased due to registration. These should be introduced to the market right from the formation of the company, or even during its rapid development. For the safe existence of such a name, proper protection is essential.
The official registration of your mark for goods and (or) services have the following advantages:
● Positioning the corporate and its goods/services on the market among competitors:
● Legal protection of your activity name;
● Increasing company prestige;
● Guarantee the individuality of your mark;
● Protecting your services/goods from illegal copying;
● A Protection against unfair competition;
● It helps to avoid extra expenses of fighting for your marks.
● Enable the owner to sell the trademark or transfer the rights to use it for financial benefit.
Similarly, the copyright registration procedure allows the owner of the automatically copyrighted work to have the exclusive right to register the work with the Copyright Office. This registration is voluntary and may be carried out at any point where the work is still copyright protected. For both published and unpublished works, copyright registration is available. Although registration is not necessary to establish copyright protection for creative works, when properly registered, extra-legal protection is granted to a copyright holder, which exceeds the cost and time of registration.
Trademark rights without registration
Unregistered trademarks are secured under customary law in India. It is possible to establish the trademark without any registration. Trademark rights can be founded by passing-off actions by rebutting the use of the trademark in India.
In passing-off cases, the Indian courts recognize the major characteristics:
● Previous use, prestige, credibility, gained uniqueness and exclusivity of the unregistered trademark;
● Distortion of the sources of the products and services created by the competing trademark and the possibility of uncertainty on the part of the consumer;
● Any damage or possibility of injury sustained by the holders of the unregistered trademark as a result of the misappropriation.
Also, Indian courts have acknowledged the rights of unregistered international trademarks in India, relying on the trans-border prestige of Indian trademarks.
To conclude, as we see, registration of a trademark is essential for those entrepreneurs who wish to possess an exclusive (monopoly) right to use their designation that distinguishes goods, services, and generally their activities within the market from the number of competitors.
Overall, both of those property protections are often important if they apply to your business. Therefore, if you are unsure of your legal rights or the method involved in officially registering a copyright or trademark, Vakilsearch is the one to help you figure out how to take it forward.