Brand Name vs. Trademark : Understanding the Difference

Trademarks are often associated with brand value and brand identity. Hence many people, laymen, and even businessmen think it is the same as a business/brand name. We often hear the term “brand” used conversely with the term “trademark”. But there is a legal difference between the two words.

When considering the two, use the “all-but-not-all” rule.
All trademarks are brands, while not all brands are trademarks.

Let us walk through the key differences between the two terms, both in meaning and purpose.

Business/Trade/Brand/Company Name

A business/trade/company name is simply a first impression that the customers get.  A brand is a corporate image that builds over time and is a reputation for quality in the eyes of customers. It is a way to help identify a business, an entity or an individual. It is the official name under which the said entity or individual chooses to run a business (be it a company, LLP, partnership or sole proprietorship).

Business registration is the first necessary step to establish the identity of the said business/company as a separate legal entity that will then allow the company to enter into contracts, conduct sales, advertise, get into partnerships, file tax returns and perform other different variety of business activities.

These business name registrations aren’t intended to provide the business owner any protection against competitors but simply to notify the public of the true owner and provide the owner authority to do business.

As long as the fields of operation and purpose are different business name can be registered safely. If however someone is found actively infringing an existing company’s trademark rights by using the trademarked name/word as a business name then there may arise severe legal disputes.

Therefore it is mandatory that a company name should not be identical to a registered trademark. So it is extremely necessary to conduct a thorough search before deciding on any business/trade name. Doing this will also prevent a lot of time wastage over legal entanglements in future.

Trademark

A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, design, color, motion mark or any other distinctive mark of the product or services that differentiate it from that of the others. It is essential to aid the consumer in identifying the actual source of such goods/services and protecting the brand’s goodwill.

If a business name is the “who” aspect of the commercial identity that is being projected in the outside world then a trademark is the “what” aspect of the identity that complements and completes the former part.

Trademark is an intangible property whose owner has exclusive rights over it which protect the brand identity by “legally establishing that the mark is already being used, and provides government protection from any liability or infringement issue that may arise while the mark is alive”.

Trademark registration offers a bundle of legal rights and benefits granted at the national level (and at times at international too) with respect to a certain class of goods/services, the coverage is holistic and also secures the brand’s goodwill and reputation globally.

As a protective measure, the owner of a trademark owns the right to stop other businesses from using the same or similar trademark for their products or services through injunctions, seek damaged for trademark infringement and resort to a host of other legal deterrents. More favors to the owner if their mark is extremely well known and has already created a distinct image in the eyes of the public.

Additionally, with a strong and distinct registered mark, the owner can even branch out to other services that fall in line with his commercial vision.

Conclusion

The monetary benefits of operating under a business name for too long are limited. Registering business is non-negotiable as it is the only way to formalize the business even though it doesn’t give full rights to that name. You can register your business with a few easy steps with LegalRaasta at affordable prices.

While registering a trademark it should always be kept in mind that a trademark provides the legal rights to the owner to stop others from using the trademarked product/service/name and imparts exclusive benefits. TrademarkCart offers a hassle-free and affordable platform to get your trademark registered across a palate of countries.

By | 2018-06-06T04:51:42+00:00 June 6th, 2018|Trademark|

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