• TM Registration

The Pros and Cons of Registered and Unregistered Trademarks


A mark is any word/s, symbol, design, or a combination of these elements, and these marks are often used to label and protect intellectual property (IP). This term refers to intangible assets used for a wide variety of industrial and marketing purposes. These properties can be highly valuable and profitable if they are well-protected.

The Pros and Cons of Registered and Unregistered Trademarks

Both ™ and ® are symbols used in the industry when it comes to brands and marketing. They are very important aspects of IP protection that prevent competitors or anyone from stealing your product, brand, or idea.

Although you may have seen these two symbols in superscript over different products and brand names, they are actually used for different purposes. In addition to this, there are different advantages and disadvantages that these particular symbols offer.


This is the symbol used for claiming ownership over a brand that is not necessarily offered protection by trademark. This brand may be either be unregistered or in the process of being reviewed for a certificate of registration. Usually, the latter happens to be the case. 

It should be noted that the TM sign should be used for products assigned in the international category... Categories for products range from 1-34, while services are assigned from 35 to 45.

Pros: Using this symbol next to your brand name allows you to assert your ownership and prevent anyone from using it either by accident or mistake.

Cons: This means that this protection only extends out of goodwill, as this only asserts your claim to ownership over a particular brand. Competitors can still file an application of registration for this trademark, which is why you need to file an application before you competitors do.


After the registration process has been completed and approved, you are issued a certificate of registration by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. This gives you the legal right to the “R” symbol next to your mark. This indicates a trademark that has already been approved and issued by the IPOS.

Pros: Having a successfully registered trademark allows you the full rights and access to the mark’s exclusive usage, as well as benefit from its increased market value.

Cons: A registered trademark gives you the minimum protection of ten years from the date of application, but unlike patents or copyright, can only be renewed indefinitely as long as the brand is being used.

Patent Pending

Inventions are technical in nature and the application of a patent focuses on the process of achieving an end result instead of the end result itself.

Pros: This phrase is a great way to deter other competitors from stealing your patent. However, it’s important that you apply for the patent at the IPOS before using this and releasing your product to the general market.

Cons: The use of this phrase indicates that is no guarantee of a patent for your invention. 

How to Use Trademark Symbols

There ways that these symbols and phrases can be used can be flexible, as there is no one specific way to use the symbols. Usually, they are placed either in superscript by the upper right side or the brand mark or logo, or level with the mark or logo itself.


These different symbols and types of trademarks each have different advantages and disadvantages, but the best option to go with is definitely registration. 

Aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners only dipping their toes in the industry can greatly benefit from applying for a registration, as intellectual property can be a highly valuable asset when protected well.

In fact, one of the benefits of applying for a trademark under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme is that registered trademarks can garner as much as 400% on tax rebates from the Singaporean government. Other benefits include exclusive use and full access to the rights and profits from the brand.  

The process of registering for a trademark can be time consuming if you plan on doing it yourself. While it has become easier to apply for a trademark registration, there is still a good amount of paperwork and legwork involved. Having a trademarking company do this for you is a great option to save time.