Must all goods be protected by registered trademarks?
While it is not mandatory to register a trademark in order to use it, relying solely on an unregistered trademark exposes a business to significant legal risks. In many countries, trademark rights are determined on a first-to-file basis, meaning that the first applicant to register a trademark will be granted exclusive rights to it, regardless of whether it has been previously used. Consequently, using an unregistered trademark increases the risk of it being preemptively registered by others, leaving the business with limited scope of use. Additionally, an unregistered trademark may infringe on the rights of another person's registered trademark, if they are identical or similar. Building brand recognition and reputation with an unregistered trademark is a challenging and risky endeavour. By contrast, registering a trademark provides exclusive rights to its use and safeguards the owner's interests against unauthorized usage by other individuals, organizations or groups.