Unregistered Trademark vs. Trademark: What You Need to Know

trademark in red banner with support words around

As you finalize your new creation, it’s instinctual to shout from the rooftop and let the world know of your inventive prowess. However, as appealing as it sounds, you should factor in the possibility of intellectual property law. That’s where an Austin lawyer comes in.

Generally, as a legal instruction in intellectual property law, all of your artistic works, designs, and inventions should be protected like any other tangible property. That said you will need the basic understanding of trademark and unregistered trademark to ensure you find the right Austin lawyer for you.

What is an Unregistered Trademark and Trademark?

A trademark can come in different forms, from distinctive brands, graphic images, and words to logos, they are all around us. From a legal perspective, it is a term used to encompass all identifiers of origins such as collective marks, service marks, trade dress, and certification marks. Simply put, it is the first tool the trader uses to create an impression on the client.

Unregistered trademark, on the other hand, refers to a trademark that has not been registered by the US Patent and Trademark Office or any state trademark office. Nonetheless, the owners of these trademarks have the rights of operation within the geographical area they operate. A trademark does not have to be ‘officially’ registered to qualify as a registered trademark. An Austin, TX intellectual property lawyer may assist you in stopping big companies from replacing small competitors operating under the same brand.

What Type of Marks Receives Protection?

Trademarks are not limited to specific graphics or numeric representations. According to the Trademark Act, a trademark can be anything that differentiates a service or products from other similar services. Like most intellectual property protection, you will need to have the proper intellectual laws on your side. An Austin lawyer makes this possible. Words that are ordinary or common receive less protection unless they have garnered an impressive public recognition due to their longevity in the market.

What are the Benefits of Each?

Unregistered Trademarks

When it comes to unregistered trademarks, an Austin, TX lawyer looks out for the best interests of the consumer and business. If someone manages to attract consumers (‘customer goodwill’), then it’s illegal for other competitors to pass their services using your brand name falsely. This serves the action of protecting both the business and the consumer.

For instance, if a shoe store under the name “Kicks” has been operating successfully for decades under the same name and a new shoe store with the same name “Kicks” opens in Texas, it will need to find a Texas trademark lawyer to represent the intellectual property. This would not only harm the original business but the consumers as well, especially if the second store sells inferior goods.


Similarly, trademarks serve the purpose of protecting the consumer’s interest by preventing competition and enforcing the rights of the owner of the trademark. The trademark assures the consumer can get a product or service from a particular trademark bearer and get the quality claimed. The trademark helps the bearer provide standard quality established under the trademark alongside their services and products.

Difference Between Registered and Unregistered Trademark

The fundamental difference between the two is regarding securities of trademarks and unregistered trademarks. A registered trademark is protected under the Trademarks Act while an unregistered trademark can claim its property under common law.

Contact the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas (LRS) to find an attorney that can help you prevent infringement or to understand how to register your property. Our trademark lawyers will offer an in-office consult, up to 30 minutes, for $20.00. Call a member of the Austin LRS intake staff to move further, 512-472-8303 or toll-free 866-303-8303.

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