Legal Remedy for Unregistered Trademark Holders
By Team Legistify / 2016-04-03
The laws surrounding unregistered marks are derived from principles of unfair competition or unfair business. Specifically, it is considered unfair for somebody to trade on the goodwill you have built up around a mark in order to sell competing goods or services. A famous unregistered trademark can be protected from dilution.

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“Nobody has any right to represent his goods as the goods of somebody else.” - Lord Halsbury Passing Off (not referring to college or school here) is a common law tort, which can be used to enforce the rights of an unregistered trademark holder. What it does is that it prevents one person from misrepresenting his goods and services as that of another. T his tort is available where there is a prospect of confusion of identity through the unauthorised use of similar marks or get up and is likely to damage the goodwill and reputation of a business. Simply put, you can’t pass off somebody else’s goods and services as your own, that’s all.

Trademark is the identification mark of any company or organisation. A customer relates any trademark with the quality of products and reputation of the company that is using it. It is a distinctive name, word, phrase, symbol, logo, design, image, or a combination of these elements that identifies a product, service or firm that has been legally registered as the property of the firm. Trademarks grant the owner the right to prevent competitors from using similar marks in selling or advertising.

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Passing Off Concept

The concept of Passing Off has been extended over time. The concept of “personality rights” is an extended form of Passing Off. Celebrities use it as a means of enforcing their “personality rights ” in common law. Another form of extended Passing Off is known as “reverse passing off.” This is when the defendant claims the plaintiff’s work as his own.

The laws surrounding unregistered marks are derived from principles of unfair competition or unfair business. Specifically, it is considered unfair for somebody to trade on the goodwill you have built up around a mark in order to sell competing goods or services. A famous unregistered trademark can be protected from dilution.

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