why register a trademark

Why register your trademark?

It's a frequently asked question: what's the point of registering a trademark?

Do I really need a trademark when I already have a company name? Or: I've been using the name for several years, and I've never had any problems, so why register?

Registering a trademark offers several advantages. After reading the following reasons, you too will want to register your trademark!

Register your brand to be the first

Almost everywhere in the world, whoever registers first gets the rights to the name.

In France, long-standing use of a trademark does not confer any rights. Consequently, if you use a trademark without having registered it, a third party can register it in your place. They could then prevent you from continuing to use it. Worse: in extreme cases, you could even be considered an infringer, and owe damages to the third party! In this case, good faith is irrelevant! But there is a simple way to protect yourself from such a situation: registering a trademark.

Note that certain other prior rights (such as a company name or domain name) can also be asserted against a third party using the same name after you. However, these rights are difficult to defend (you need to prove that they have been used and since when), and do not allow for as many actions (see below).

In all cases, in the event of a dispute, the first thing to look for is the date of the oldest rights.. It is therefore very important, when using a trademark, to register it first, at least as a precautionary measure, to prevent subsequent third parties from preventing you from using the name in the future.

Registering your trademark therefore secures the use of your name.

Register your brand to be the only one to use it

Trademark registration confers a monopoly on the use of a name and/or logo in connection with specific products and/or services.

For example: the Tesla trademark is registered for cars. No other person can use it to designate cars (or any other vehicle). There is therefore a monopoly on the name "Tesla" for these products.

Trademarks are industrial property rights enforceable against third parties. It is therefore possible to prevent an identical or similar trademark from being registered using the opposition proceedings. Illicit use can also be stopped by means of other actions: nullity, infringement or unfair competition.

But beware: a monopoly must be maintained. The INPI is not going to refuse a trademark because there is an identical earlier trademark. It's up to the trademark owner to check that no one else is registering/using a similar trademark. Therefore, po make sure you're the only one left to exploit the name in question, you need to keep a close eye on your brand.

Register your trademark to protect and defend yourself effectively

Trademark registration is a deterrent that should not be overlooked. In fact, once a trademark has been registered, it appears on the INPI register A third party wishing to register this name will see that it has already been taken. Most of the time, this encourages the third party to choose another name. 

In addition, a trademark gives its owner the ability to defend himself effectively. (which simple use does not). Trademarks can be used in administrative proceedings before the INPI (opposition / invalidity) or other bodies (e.g. to obtain the transfer of a domain name). Above all, however, a trademark can be used to bring infringement proceedings. This enables the trademark owner to claim damages (sometimes substantial).

If you haven't registered a trademark, you can't sue for infringement. You may, however, be able to bring an action for unfair competition - but this is more difficult to do.

Other advantages of trademark registration

There are many other reasons for registering a trademark:

1/ The brand is a financial asset Trademarks can be licensed (for royalties) or sold. In other words, a brand can make you money!

2/ For online sellers The brand enables you to benefit from commercial advantages. For example, the Amazon Trademarks Register (Amazon Brand Registry) allows sellers to have a monopoly on the registered name, and thus prohibit competitors from posting ads with that name. Most platforms have developed a similar system.

3/ Trademarks are a lasting right If renewed and exploited, a trademark can last for centuries! It is valid for 10 years from the date of registration, and is renewable every 10 years thereafter. The cost of registration (on average between €190 and €270 in fees) is therefore quickly recouped!

So don't hesitate: it's time to register your trademark.

Updated: 07/07/2023