11 Jun 2015 15:57 IST

Why you should register your trademark asap

If your business is even moderately successful, it’s better to register your trademark to avoid disputes over your brand

There's no need for a business to register its brand name with the Trademarks Registrar. The rights are assumed the moment it is used. If no other brand wishes to start a business by the same name or use your brand name illegally, you'll be just fine. But there's simply no way to be sure of this – another person could easily have the same spark of brilliance as you; more likely, though, if your business is even moderately successful, others are likely to play mischief with your brand if they find you don't have any protection. So let's examine how these two possibilities could play out:

When someone inadvertently trademarks your name

Let's assume another business has trademarked a name you've been using for a couple of years but haven't registered. If you believe this gets in the way of your business, you could, of course, sort this matter out. Particularly if the other business is in the same space as you, you may want to do this quickly. But there can be other problems as well. What if this other business is growing quickly and wants to stop you from using this name altogether? It owns the trademark, so it can certainly try and do so. If you can prove that you were first to use the name, this may not succeed, but you might still not be happy with the result. Assuming you are the smaller business, operating only in part of India, while the other business is nationwide, you may be awarded the trademark only for that part of India, thereby limiting any expansion plans you may have and ultimately forcing you to find another name.

When your name is being used illegally

Have you ever heard of cybersquatting? It's when an individual buys other combinations of your brand name merely to earn a quick buck from you. It's illegal, but only so long as you can prove your right to that name and, in some cases, that the other party is doing this in bad faith. Often, this happens to large brands. Just this week Snapdeal found out that an entity in Pakistan has been using the snapdeal.pk domain to sell all kinds of products in Pakistan. As its name is trademarked, they would find it easier to stop this from happening as the Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy would take into account whether or not the name is trademarked. Given that a trademark costs just Rs 4,000 to register, it makes no sense not to register it. Now, of course, you shouldn't be doing so immediately. But the moment you start to notice that the name holds value, you should think about getting it done.

*VakilSearch simplifies legal for start-ups by facilitating company registration , trademark filing , documentation and compliance.