Registering your trade mark gives you the exclusive right to use your mark for the goods and/or services that it covers in the country where you file.
If you have a registered trade mark you can put the ® symbol next to it to warn others against using it. However, using this symbol for a trade mark that is not registered is an offence.
A registered trade mark:
may put people off using your trade mark without your permission
makes it much easier for you to take legal action against anyone who uses your trade mark without your permission
allows the relevant authorities to bring criminal charges against counterfeiters if they use your trade mark
is your property, which means you can sell it, franchise it or let other people have a licence that allows them to use it.
If you don’t register your trade mark, you may still be able to take action if someone uses your mark without your permission, using the common law action of passing off.
To be successful in a passing off action, you must prove that:
the mark is yours
you have built up a reputation in the mark
you have been harmed in some way by the other person’s use of the mark.
It can be very difficult and expensive to prove a passing off action.
If you register your trade mark, it is easier to take legal action against infringement of your mark, rather than having to rely on passing off.