A Complete Guide on Trademark Registration for E-Commerce Companies
Trademark is nothing but a unique name, word, or symbol used to specify any company or business and its goods and services. After the trademark registration, the name, logo, or word is protected from infringement and no other company can copy or misuse the registered trademark. No business or company owner might want to see his/her brand being copied or misused by any other business or company. There are several reasons why the owners of e-commerce companies wish to one or more trademark registration for E-Commerce companies. In this blog, we discuss the benefits and process of trademark registration for E-Commerce Companies.
Is Trademark Registration for E-Commerce Companies Compulsory?
No, it is not compulsory to do a trademark registration for E-Commerce Companies; on the other hand, we insistently recommend filing a trademark application as soon as possible.
Following are some distinct benefits of protecting your IP (Intellectual Property) rights over your brand name:
- Understanding the idea of “Prior Use” in Trademarks: The trademark law gives priority to the company or business knownfor the first use of that trademark. The proof of “Prior Use” in the trademark gives you an advantage over an opponent or another individual using the same mark or logo, or name. The importance of prior use often surpasses the registration of a trademark. Hence, if you start using the name first, and another person owns a trademark registration for a similar name, the court may still grant you a trademark registration.
- Rights to Handover the trademark at a Later Stage: Other than the right to use your trademark, you can allocate this right in favour of another owner. This is very beneficial for smaller and early-stage companies or businesses searching for potential buyers and investors. Normally, the investors look surely at a company or business that has attained intellectual property rights.
- Trademark Signs: There are three different types of trademark signs to show that a trademark has been used, the companies can use one of these trademark signs, and you can check the same below:
- TM Symbol: This symbol is used in association with an unregistered mark to inform possible infringers that a logo, term, name, slogan or any other indicator is being claimed as a trademark.
- ® Symbol: This symbol provides a notice that the preceding symbol or word or logo is a trademark that has been registered with a national trademark office.
- SM Symbol: This symbol is used to provide notice that the preceding mark or symbol is a service, and it is used for retailing of services only, not goods. That is why it is called Service Mark. Companies choose to use the SM symbol, but most companies use the TM mark instead of the SM mark.
- Safeguarding a Trademark: A trademark is declared for the life of a product or company; business do need to safeguard against expressions becoming common. To keep the claim on the trademark, the companies should notify people who copy or misuse the trademark.
Benefits of having a Trademark for E-Commerce Companies
In the past, the E-commerce business was not a big thing. However, at present, the world is changing, and everyone is using the internet, and most businesses are using an online platform to sell their products and services, so having a trademark registration for your company can offer various benefits and protection. There are numerous reasons why you want one or more trademark registration for E-commerce companies containing the following:
- Safety against Brand Damage: A trademark can safeguard your brand from any damage. An E-commerce website can protect your brand nationally or globally from being violated by other unauthorized persons utilizing it, misuse it, or copying it.
- Trademark Search: A whole trademark search is a vital part of applying for trademark registration. This can avoid expectant and possiblycostly difficulties in the future.
- Protection of your business: A trademark registered in the US can protect the company name and other trademarks from being misused or copied by others. It can also protect unmatched product logos and names. A business with a registered trademark has legal support against ignoring or using the registered trademark.
- Trademark supports the E-Commerce Companies: Some e-commerce companies, such as Walmart, Amazon, eBay, etc., provide an extra chance for businesses with a registered trademark. The Brand Registry discuss a number of added marketing chance, fence protection, and analytical data to Amazon Sellers who are part of the program.
Documents Required for Trademark for E-Commerce Companies
Following is the list of all the vital documents required at the time of Trademark Registration for E-Commerce Companies:
- Submit a copy of the trademark, brand name, logo, etc., that applicant wants to make their trademark.
- In case, if the applicant is a company, submit a copy of COI (Certificate of Incorporation).
- Provide required details of the applicant such as name, address proof, citizenship, etc.
- If a company is applying for a trademark that is already used by them, the date on which the trademark is used.
- Submit a copy of Power of Attorney, which the applicant duly signs on stamp paper of Rs. 100.
Process of Trademark Registration for E-Commerce Companies
Below is the step by step process of Registration of Trademark for E-Commerce Companies, but before the registration process, you need to arrange all the vital documents as mentioned above:
- Step 1: Search for Trademarks on Database: Most entrepreneurs do not know the importance of a Trademark Search. Having a unique brand logo, name, or word in mind is not enough to avoid a Trademark Search. This helps you know if there are similar trademarks availablein the database. It also tells you a fair picture of where your trademark stands, and sometimes it gives you a feeling of the possibility of trademark litigation.
- Step 2: Filing Trademark Application: Once you choose your brand logo or name that is not listed in the Trademark registry, you can apply for your e-commerce company’s trademark registration. The first step after the trademark search is to file an application form at a Trademark Registry. At present, filing an application is mostly done online. Once you applied, a receipt will be issued to you for future reference.
- Step 3: Trademark Examination: Once you filed the application, it is inspected by the inspector for any disagreements. The examination may take around 12 to 18 months. The examiner may accept the trademark or object to it. If the trademark is accepted unconditionally, the trademark gets published in the Trademark Journal online. If the trademark is not accepted unconditionally, the conditions to be fulfilled or the objections would be mentioned in the report. The specific time will be given to fulfil all the conditions or reply to the objections. Once the response or reply is accepted, the trademark is published in the Trademark Journal; if not, once can request for a hearing. If the examiner feels that the trademark is allowed for registration at the time of the hearing, it proceeds for publication in the journal.
- Step 4: Trademark Publication: This step is unified in the registration process so that anyone who objects to the trademark registration has the opportunity to oppose the same. In case if there is no opposition after 3 to 4 months, then the trademark proceed further for registration. If there is opposition, then there is a hearing, and the final decision is given by the Registrar.
- Step 5: Issuance of Registration Certificate: Once the application for trademark registration is proceeding further, following publication in Trademark Journal, a registration certificate will be issued to you.
The Controller General’s office looks after the trademark registration and inspection of the application for trademark renewal, the protection filed by a third party against the trademark in the journal and stand by the difference related to the trademark registration for E-commerce companies. So, the office of Controller General is an essential office dealing with all the problems regarding trademark and very branches of intellectual property.
Also, Read: What are Well Known Trademarks in India?