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Assignment of Trademark Without Goodwill of Business


Last Updated on June 8, 2024 by Sachin Jaiswal

Trademark assignment, the transfer of ownership rights, is useful for businesses to handle their brand portfolios successfully. This process can greatly impact a company’s marketplace and income. There are two types of brand assignments: with goodwill and without goodwill. While assignment with goodwill includes transferring the brand and its associated image, assignment without goodwill separates the trademark from its goodwill. This blog post will focus on the latter, studying the details of transferring a trademark without goodwill in India.

What is Trademark Assignment?

Trademark assignment transfers legal rights, benefits, interests, and positions linked to a brand from one party (the assignor) to another (the receiver) through a written deal. It includes passing on the rights to use the brand, a unique name for a business’s goods or services.

There are two main types of trademark assignments:

  1. Assignment with goodwill: In this scenario, the person who assigns passes the trademark and the related business image, client trust, and goodwill to the assigned person. The person who gets the trademark can keep using it for the same goods or services that the person who gave it to them.
  2. Assignment without goodwill: Here, only the rights to the brand itself are passed, while the assignor keeps the business goodwill. The assignee can use the name for different goods or services but must build goodwill for the assigned brand. The assignor limits the assignee from working in the area where the assignor is already active.

Understanding Goodwill in Trademark Assignment

In the context of marks, Goodwill refers to the image, customer loyalty, and good associations a business has built around its brand. It reflects the intangible value of a business beyond its real assets. Goodwill is important in trademark assignments because it affects the transfer of the scope of rights. When a trademark is given with goodwill, the assignee gets the brand’s image and can continue using the mark for the same goods or services as the assignor. This makes for an easy transfer and keeps the buyer’s trust.

In comparison, transfer without goodwill separates the rights to a brand from the business image and customer goodwill it may carry. This separation transfers brand rights for specific goods or services while the assignor keeps the goodwill. The owner must build goodwill for the given brand. This type of assignment is often called a “gross trademark,” stressing the lack of goodwill transfer along with the trademark.

Importance of Goodwill in Trademark Assignments

Goodwill plays a major part in brand transfers, affecting the rights’ value and scope. When goodwill is passed, the assignee gets the brand’s reputation and can leverage it for their business. This can help the assignee, as they can use the current name to gain a competitive edge in the market. On the other hand, when goodwill is not shared, the assignee must build their image and customer trust, which can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

Differences Between Assignment with and Without Goodwill

The key difference between assignments with and without goodwill lies in the scope of rights passed and the ability to use the mark in the same market as the assignor. Assignments with goodwill provide more comprehensive rights, while assignments without goodwill offer freedom to the assignor in keeping the brand image.

Legal Framework for Trademark Assignment Without Goodwill

The legal grounds for trademark transfer without goodwill in India are handled by the Trade Marks Act of 1999. Key rules include:

  • Section 38 Permits the sale of a registered name with or without goodwill.
  • Section 39 Covers the transfer of unregistered rights.
  • Section 45 outlines the process for recording a trademark assignment with the registrar, including the requirement that the assignee ask for directions regarding the assignment notice within six months from the date of assignment.

The legal repercussions of transferring a name without goodwill include:

  • The assignor keeps the goodwill linked with the trademark, while the assignee gets the right to use the trademark for specific goods or services.
  • To ensure public notice and prevent misunderstanding, the assignee must advertise the assignment within time.
  • The assignment can be filed with the registrar, which provides official proof and establishes ownership rights.

These rules ensure that brand transfers without goodwill are carried out publicly and legally binding, protecting the rights of both the assignor and the assignee.

Procedure for Assigning a Trademark Without Goodwill

Transferring a mark without goodwill includes a meticulous legal process that splits the rights to a brand from the business image and client trust it may carry. Here is an easy-to-follow guide to the assignment procedures:

1. Application Submission:

The person being assigned must apply to the Trademark Registry through Form TM-P (DIRECTION OF REGISTRAR FOR ADVERTISEMENT OF ASSIGNMENT WITHOUT GOODWILL) within 6 months of the assignment’s completion. The application needs to contain the assignment information, such as the assignor and recipient identities, mailing addresses, and signatures.

2. Advertisement Requirements:

The assignee must push the assignment within time to ensure public notice and prevent misunderstanding. The poster must include the assignment details, such as the assignor and assignee names, addresses, and the assigned brand.

3. Documentation and Formalities:

The assignor must present a fully signed and approved assignment deed, including the effective date, the full name, and the address of the assignor and assignee, along with their signatures and the assignee’s price for the assignment.

4. Role of the Trademark Registry:

The Trademark Registry checks the application and ensures all rules are met. If the application is complete and good, the Registry records the transfer and updates the trademark file properly.

5. Statutory Fees:

The fees for offline filing are ₹ 1,000 for waiting trademarks and ₹ 10,000 for registered trademarks. For online filing, the fees are ₹ 900 for waiting trademarks and ₹ 9,000 for registered trademarks.

By following these steps and meeting the needed rules, the assignor can pass the trademark rights without goodwill, allowing the assignee to use the name for different goods or services. In comparison, the assignor keeps the goodwill connected with the name.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Assignment Without Goodwill

Advantages of Assigning a Trademark Without Goodwill

  • Assigning a brand without goodwill allows the assignor to keep the goodwill tied to the name. At the same time, the assignee gets the right to use the name for specific goods or services.
  • This type of assignment separates the rights to a brand from the business image and customer attachment it may carry, allowing for separate transfer of trademark rights for specific goods or services.
  • The assignor controls the mark and may hold the usage of the trademark inside the same market, while the assignee can use the mark for one-of-a-kind goods or offerings.

Potential Drawbacks and Risks

  • Limited Use: The assignee can only use the name for the specific goods or services given, lowering their ability to grow the business.
  • No Inheritance of image: The assignee does not gain the goodwill and image related to the brand, causing them to build their own.
  • Potential Disputes: Disputes may arise if the assignor and assignee have different views regarding using the brand.

Comparison ofAssignment with Goodwill & without

Assignment without goodwill is more limited than assignment with goodwill, as it does not pass the goodwill and image linked with the brand. This type of assignment is ideal for situations where the assignor wants to control the goodwill and image. At the same time, the assignee gets the right to use the name for specific goods or services.

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Common Issues Faced During the Assignment Process

  • Resistance to change: Stakeholders may resist the change in ownership, leading to disputes and delays.
  • Lack of Resources: Insufficient resources, such as time, money, or people, can slow the assignment process.
  • Inadequate Skills: The assignor or client may lack the necessary skills to finish the assignment properly.
  • Disputes Regarding assignment validity: Disputes may arise regarding the legality of the assignment, leading to court problems.

Tips and Strategies to Address These Challenges

  • Involve Stakeholders: Engage stakeholders to solve problems and build trust.
  • Prioritize: Focus on the most important parts of the assignment to overcome resource limits.
  • Training and Development: Provide necessary training and development chances to address skill gaps.
  • Clear Communication: Ensure clear communication regarding the assignment, benefits, and the process to avoid disagreements.

Importance of Legal Advice and Professional Assistance

  • Legal Expertise: Seek legal help to ensure compliance with important laws and rules, such as the Trade Marks Act of 1999.
  • Professional advice: Obtain professional help to handle the assignment process smoothly and solve possible challenges.


In conclusion, trademark transfers without goodwill offer a smart way for businesses to handle their brand portfolios while controlling their image and goodwill. This process includes careful legal procedures, including marketing standards and government fees. While it provides flexibility for the assignor, it also comes with possible downsides and risks. Understanding the legal framework and problems involved in trademark transfers without goodwill is important. Getting professional help from law experts and trademark pros is recommended for an easy and efficient process.

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Sachin Jaiswal

Sachin Jaiswal B.A.(Hons)! Sachin Jaiswal has been writing material on his own for more than five years. He got his B.A.(Hons) in English from the well-known University of Delhi. His success in this job is due to the fact that he loves writing and making material that is interesting. He has worked with a lot of different clients in many different fields, always giving them high-quality content that their target audience will enjoy. Through his education and work experience, he is able to produce high-quality content that meets his clients' needs.