Unregistered Trademark Law and Legal Definition

Unregistered trademark is a trademark that does not benefit from the protection that registered trade marks receive. In the U.S., it is not necessary to obtain a registration to consider it as a valid trademark. An unregistered trademark will have all common law rights. An unregistered mark will be protected under the federal Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125. The act provides prohibition against commercial misrepresentation of source or origins of goods. Where a mark is protected only under common law trademark rights, the same marks can be used where there is no geographic overlap in the use of the marks. Unregistered trademarks should be marked with a “tm.”