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Prior Usage vs. Registered User: Understanding Trademark Law in India

When it comes to trademark law in India, it is important to understand the difference between prior usage and registered user. Prior usage refers to the use of a trademark by a person or entity before another person or entity registers it, whereas a registered user is the one who has obtained registration for their trademark from the Trade Mark Registry.


In fact, the law recognizes the rights of the prior user across the country, as long as they have been using the trademark in question for a longer period of time. This means that even if the registered user has obtained the registration for a trademark, the prior user can still challenge the registered user's right to use the trademark if they can prove prior usage.


Under Indian trademark law, prior usage is given more importance than trademark registration. Even if a trademark is not registered, the prior user can still claim ownership over it if they can prove that they have been using it for a longer period of time.


While trademark registration does not provide any higher level of protection than prior usage, it does offer a significant advantage. Registration of a trademark serves as prima facie evidence of ownership, meaning that it is presumed to be valid until proven otherwise. This can be very helpful in legal proceedings if a dispute arises over ownership of a trademark.


In conclusion, prior usage and registered user are two important concepts in trademark law in India. Prior usage gives the prior user the upper hand in disputes over the use of a trademark, while registration of a trademark provides a strong legal advantage in terms of evidence. It is important for businesses to understand these concepts and take appropriate steps to protect their trademarks.


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