A trademark is a visual mark that can be used by a company to differentiate services or products from certain same goods or services that are manufactured in different businesses by a word, name, numbers, logo, color combination, etc.
In India, trademarks are listed by the General Controller of Patent Designs and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
Trademarks are authorized under the Trademark Act, 1999, which grants the owner of the trademark the right to sue for damages when trademark infringements occur. Registered trademarks are for business intellectual property, used to protect the investment of the company in the name or symbol.
What can be registered as a trademark?
A name including own personal name or surname of the applicant or predecessor in business or the signature of the person
A word that is not being directly descriptive of the character or quality of the goods/service. For example, Google is a word that has been trademarked.
Alphanumeric or Letters or numerals or any combination thereof. For example 555 brands.
Image, symbol, monograms, 3-dimensional shapes, letters, etc. For example, the panther jumping in the puma logo.
Sound marks in audio format. For example, sound in the Ad jingle.
Except for these, the other things that may be trademarked are an invented word or other arbitrary dictionary term or terms, letters or numerals, devices that may include fancy devices or symbols, monograms, a mixture of colors or a single color in conjunction with a term or device, the shape of products or their packaging, 3-dimensional sign, slogans and phrases, logo, graphic material, etc.
Who can all apply for a Trademark?
In the context of the trademark rules and regulations in India, it is possible to register things like sound, logo, words, phrases, colors, images, symbols, initials, or a mix of all of these.
You may apply for a trademark using:
- Private companies
- Business- Limited Partnership, OPC, Limited Private Partnership, Government, Alliance, etc.
Note: In the case of NGOs and LLP companies the trademark must be applied for in the name of the corporation or company concerned.
Advantages of the Trademark registration:
- Creates trust in the products:
A product or service sold under a registered mark helps consumers develop trust, protection, quality, and goodwill.
- Legal Protection
In case of misuse, a registered trademark owner has the legal right i.e. you doubt that someone else copies your trademark, you sue them for copying your logo, brand, name, or slogan.
- Creation of intangible asset
The trademark must be a valuable asset in case your brand builds a name and fame. The trademark, once registered, makes it an intangible asset that can be traded, franchised, distributed, or commercially contracted.
- Differentiating products
Trademarking will make the consumers find out about the products quickly. They can differentiate among the various kinds of products as the products tend to create an identity for themselves.
Procedure for Trademark registration:
Step 1: Searching for similar trademarks
- Trademark search also allows you to know whether similar trademarks exist and gives you a fair image of where your trademark is, often it also gives you a forewarning of the possibility of a trademark litigation
Step 2: Filing Trademark Application
- Once you are confident that the brand name or logo you have chosen is not specified in Trademark Registry India, you can choose to register the same. The first stage is to apply for a trademark application form with the Trademark Office, India,
- The offices for Indian trademarks are based in Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata. Filing is mostly done online nowadays.
- When the application has been received, an official receipt for future reference shall be given immediately. Additionally, you can see the application’s trademark status quickly online.
Step 3: Trademark Examination
- After a trademark application is submitted, any contradictions are examined by the examiner. The exam could take approximately 12-18 months to complete. The examiner may absolutely or conditionally accept the trademark.
- The trademark shall be published in Trademark Journal if approved unconditionally. If not unconditionally agreed, then certain conditions to be met and the objections would be stated in the examination report and a one month time would be given to fulfill the conditions or response to the objections.
Step 4: Trademark Publication
- The publication process is integrated into the trademark registration process so that anyone who objects to the trademark registration has the opportunity to object to the same. If no opposition is lodged after 3-4 months of publication, the trademark shall proceed for registration. In case there is opposition; the Registrar gives a fair hearing and a decision.
Step 5: Registration Certificate
- Following the publication in Trademark Journal, if the application continues for trademark registration, a certificate of registration is given under the seal of the Trademark Office.