Online Trademark Registration – An Overview
In simple words, Trademarks are some special and unique signs that are used to identify goods or services of a company. They can be pictures, designs, signs or even expressions. It is very important because a Trademark differentiates the products of a company from the other strong competitions in the market. It can also be associated with the brand or product of a company.
In India, Trademarks are classified as Intellectual Property and therefore is given protection from any kind of infringement. Trademarks and the rights associated with are protected by the Trademark Act, 1999, in India. To get the protection of the trademark rights the owner has to register the trademark with the Trademark Registry.
It is very important to register the Trademark because it prevents other people from copying the mark and also misrepresenting other products with the same mark. Trademarks help the consumers to recognise a particular brand and the brand value in one look of its mark. For instance, as the logo of a tick sign for Nike or a jumping wildcat for the brand Puma any many more. In the article, we will discuss the step by step process of Trademark Registration in India.
What is the Meaning of the term Trademark in India?
In simple terms, a Trademark is a logo or brand which represents the business of the Trademark owner.
A visual symbol like a name, word signature, device, numerals, labels or combination of colours used by the trademark owner for goods or services or any other articles of commerce to distinguish it from all other similar goods or services originating from the different businesses in the market.
A trademark can be a brand name, word, symbol, logo, wrapper, packaging labels, taglines or a combination of these and are used by the manufacturers or service providers to identify their own products and/or services. A mark is used to distinguish the products or services of the owner from those of its other competitors in the market.
Unlike Patents, Trademark does not have any definite period of limitation. Where any Patent expires in the time period of 20 years a Trademark Registration in India expires after 10 years' time period of its registration. But on the other hand, unlike Patents, a Trademark can be renewed again for another time period of 10 years.
This Trademark Renewal process can be indefinitely done, meaning as long as the trademarks owner keeps renewing a Trademark it will not expire and will also continue to be under the protection of the Trademarks Act, 1999.
What are the Benefits of Trademark Registration in India?
The benefits of Trademark Registration in India are as follows:
In India, Trademark Registration are distinct to the goods or services they represent. A Trademark will enable differentiation of the product as against the products of the other competitors in the market. Also, since Trademark Registration is valid for the entire class of goods or services so represented, it will also help in distinctly identifying the products.
The customers are able to uniquely identify the products carrying different Trademark, thus it will create a customer base for the product of the applicant.
A registered Trademark in India is valid for a time period of 10 years from the date of filing of an application for Trademark Registration. However, a trademark can also be further renewed. In a case where the applicant wants to use his/her trademark outside the territory of India or expand his/her business outside India, thee applicant is required to get an approval or Trademark Registration in the respective countries.
Customers associate the performance, quality, features, and so on of the product with the company making such products. They identify the products generally by the logo, which would be a registered as a Trademark. Trademark Registration facilitates brand recognition for the goods and services. It also creates the goodwill associated with a brand.
Thus, the brand is recognised as well as it also carries a market value over a period of time. Brand Recognition welcomes new consumers while retaining the old loyal consumers.
Upon Trademark Registration, the Trademarks are classified as intellectual property and are therefore protected from any kind of infringement. Trademark registration in India also confers certain exclusive rights to the use of the trademark in relation to the "Classes" of goods or service it represents. Once the applicant has filed the trademark application, the Symbol "TM" can be used with his/her products.
The symbol “R” can only be put into use only after the applicant has obtained registration of his/her Trademark.
Creation of an Asset
Trademark Registration in India creates an asset for any business enterprise. A Trademark is recognised as an intangible asset for the accounting and income tax purposes. Trademarks are a kind of intellectual property and carry a good value associated with the products they represent. Trademarks can be franchised, sold, assigned or commercially exploited in any other manner.
Business Valuation and Goodwill
The Trademarks registered and associated with the products enhance the overall business value, goodwill and net worth in the industry. A Trademark communicates the quality assurance, distinct features of the products and the mission of the organisation. Trademarks contribute to the growth of the business. They also help retain the loyal customers and protect the goodwill of associated with the business.
A registered Trademark establishes a connection between the customers and products of an enterprise. With unique or efficient products, the applicant can create a customer base. A Trademark helps in retaining and expanding the customer base. Registration of the Trademark confers an exclusive rights of use for a time period of 10 years and also protects the business revenues.
Documents Required for Trademark Registration in India
The documents required for Trademark Registration in India are as follows:
- The name of Applicant;
- The type of Business;
- The objective of Business;
- The Brand/logo/slogan name;
- The proof of Registration address;
- The Identity and Business Proofs of the applicant. It can be the Aadhar card, driving license, passport, ration card or voter’s Id;
- The use of Logo with a Tagline;
- The Form 48.
- The proof of the claim (which is applicable) of the proposed Trademark that it can also be used in any other country.
- Power of Attorney signed by the applicant.
Procedure for Trademark Registration in India
The procedure of Trademark registration can be done in two ways:
- Offline Procedure
- Online Procedure
Offline Procedure for Trademark Registration
The Trademark Registration is done by the Registry of the Trademarks in India. When a person plan on registering a Trademark there are a few steps that are involved which are as follows:
Choosing a Trademark
The applicant should remember to choose a unique and distinctive mark as it will represent the company of the owner. The other important point is to identify which class the mark belongs to. Currently, there are around 45 classes of goods and services under which a trademark can be registered in India. The classes 1-34 are for the goods and the classes 35-45 are for services.
Once the owner has chosen his/her mark it is advisable to conduct a Trademark search to check whether the mark chosen by the applicant mark is similar to an already registered Trademark or not. The applicant can either do this Trademark search himself or herself by going to the online website of the Controller General of Designs, Patents, and Trademarks.
On the online website, the applicant can find an option to do a public Trademark search. Once a click is done on this option the applicant is required to choose his/her class and search the online database properly. The other available option is to get legal services, although the applicant will have to pay for it as it is the safest option.
Overall, the legal services will cost lesser in case the trademark is objected against by any person. Not only the legal advisors will do all the required Trademark search but will also help the applicant with the whole process of Trademark Registration.
Filing of Application
There are two options available with the applicant while filing for an application for Trademark Registration in India. The options are as follows:
File for an application for Trademark under "one" class. This means that the Trademark will be registered only for a specific class that the applicant has chosen. In such a case, the applicant is required to fill in the form TM-1.
The fees payable for the filing of form TM-1 is provided at the time of filing the form at the office of the Trademark Registry. The applicant can also find all the amounts payable for the corresponding forms here.
The other option available for filing application for Trademark Registration is to file for multiple classes or series Trademark, or collective Trademark. For this, the applicant is required to fill in form TM-A. This TM-A form allows the applicant to register the Trademark beyond one specific class.
Online Procedure for Trademark Registration
Trademark Name Search
This is the simplest, short, and best way for any new applicant to get a trendy, catchy, and an interesting brand name or his/her products. Picking up a name for a brand that is quirky and wacky is definitely a very wise move since most of the common names would have already been someone else’s hands.
Moreover, adjusting on a particular name requires a very quick research process to ensure oneself that he/she is not picking a brand name that is already in usage by any other company. The best part here is that the applicant can also invent or coin some new words with a mix of common words to create a unique brand name for himself/herself.
Preparing a Trademark Application
The applicant is then required to prepare the Trademark application by submitting all the required documents as prescribed by the authorities.
Filing the Trademark Application
The applicant is required to choose the submit application option on the website after submitting all the required documents. In the case of an e-filing system, the applicant will receive his/her receipt of acknowledgment instantly on the government website. After receiving the acknowledgment, the applicant is eligible to use the Trademark (TM) symbol beside his/her brand name.
Examination of Application
Once the application for Trademark Registration is submitted, the Registrar will check out whether the applicant have followed the prescribed terms that the brand name complies with the existing law. Moreover, there should not be any kind of conflict or dispute amongst any existing or pending brands names for the registration.
Publication in Trademark Journal
After the process of examination is completed, the registrar will publish the brand name in the Indian Trademark Journal. This is certainly the most vital part of the process of Trademark Registration in India. There should not be any kind of opposition within the time period of 90 days or 120 days, in some of the cases, from the date of publication, then only the brand name will be proceeding towards the acceptance.
Issuance of Trademark Registration Certificate
The Registrar of Trademarks will accept the trademark application if there is no opposition being raised by any person or company within the stipulated time period of 90 days. The Registrar will issue the Registration Certificate with the Trademark Registry seal on it to the applicant.
The moment applicant has been issued with the Registration Certificate; he/she can use the symbol of registered trademark (®) beside his/her brand name.
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Frequently Asked Questions
The term “Trademark” denotes a symbolic or visual representation that aims to protect a logo; signature; word; colour; name; label; device; etc. used by an individual on his/her goods and services.
The functions of a trademark include identifying the origin of goods and services; guarantee for the quality; advertisement of goods and services; and creation of the brand image.
The different types of Trademark Symbols are TM, SM, and R.
The registered owner of a goods and services gets to benefit from a Trademark.
The main advantage of a trademark is that it helps the owner preserve the uniqueness and individuality of the goods and services.
The Trademarks Act, 1999, acts as the basis for the Trademark Laws in India, along with the rulings issued by the IPAB (Intellectual Property Appellate Board).
Yes, an applicant is allowed to make changes in the application for Trademark Registration. However, he/she is not allowed to make a substantial alteration in the identity of the goods or services.
Yes, it is possible to remove a registered trademark from the register by filling an application to the registrar in the specified format. One also need to mention the reason for striking off the name.
Yes, a Registrar can strike-off a name on suo motu basis.
The steps included in the process of checking a name are, visit the official website; select “Related Links”; click on “Trademark Status”; choose the “Trademark Application”; lastly, click to start Trademark Public Search.
The different types of Trademarks are Suggestive Marks; Fanciful or Arbitrary Marks; Generic Marks; and Descriptive Marks.
Class 35 includes services relating to Advertising and Managing a Commercial or Industrial enterprise.
No, it is illegal to imitate a registered logo, and the same will result in the case of Trademark Infringement.
A trademark remains valid for a period of 10 years and is eligible to obtain renewal after expiry.
Yes, a logo is covered under the ambit of Trademark Registration.
Any trademark registered as per the provisions of the Trademarks Act 1999, is considered a valid Trademark in India.
Yes, an individual can trademark a phrase. However, he/she needs to keep in mind that it does not contain any word that is representing the quality of the goods or services.
An individual can get his/her trademark renewed in every 10 years.
No, the owner needs to get the trademark renewed in every 10 years.
Yes, an applicant can amend the registered trademark, if the amendment does not lead to substantial alteration in the nature of goods and services.
Yes, an applicant can get a sound or smell registered under the Trademark Act.
The Indian Trademark Registration may not be completely valid in a Foreign Country. However, the same can serve the purpose of filing a Trademark in the desired foreign country.
Yes, a registered company can apply for Trademark Registration in India.
Yes, an applicant is eligible to transfer a Trademark to any other person. However, the processing fee for the transfer varies as per the status of Trademark.
Normally, the registration fee for the small enterprises is Rs 4500/- and Rs 9000 for big ventures.