Trademark is a visual symbol. It can be a name, colour, word, or anything else that can symbolise products or services and help people differentiate them from all the others.
The Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry lists trademarks. The Trade Marks Act 1999 registers all the trademarks and gives the owner the unique power and right to sue when fraud happens.
The registered trademarks are the owner's intellectual property and are said to safeguard the company's goodwill and symbol. Getting your trademark registered is mandatory for a company.
The trademarks that have already been registered cannot be registered again. The trademarks that are offensive, very general, or indistinct, including symbols or protected words, cannot be registered. The registration of a trademark expires and needs to be renewed by easily filing a trademark renewal application form which will be valid for the coming 10 years. The registration of a trademark is available in various states like LegalRaasta in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai etc.
Did you know?
The registration of a trademark was first done in England under the reign of Henry III in the year 1266. It required the people that sold bread to put a mark on the bread.
What Can Be Legally Registered as a Trademark?
- Name - The registered name can be someone's first or last name, such as the founder's surname, like Tata.
- Word - A word should be such that it doesn't describe the quality or character of the products, like Yahoo.
- Numbers - A combination of numerals, alphanumeric, letters, numerals or any combination. Example- Forever21.
- Images- Any image or a symbol that a brand registers itself with, such as the tick symbol for Nike or the jaguar for Jaguar.
Also Read: How to Check Trademark Status?
Who Can Apply for Trademarks?
- Private firms that already have an established goodwill
- Individuals who are starting a business to make sure that they have a unique identity.
- Companies such as public, partnership, etc.
- NGOs and other non-profit organisations
It is mandatory to complete the trademark application when getting a trademark registered.
How to Complete the Trademark Application?
Step 1: Trademark Search
The site LegalRaasta is often used to check how different trademarks are available for the clients to let them choose their desired design, name or symbols and make sure that they haven't already been used by someone else or aren't a copy of existing trademarks.
Step 2: Trademark Application
Once you have chosen the desired design/name that would signify your trademark and the same is available, an authorisation letter is sent for you to sign and return. The signed letters grant lawyers an authority that enables them to file a political trademark on behalf of the client.
Step 3: Submission of Trademark Application
After sending the authorisation letter, with all the correct information provided in the same, the lawyers are required to file the trademark on your behalf. You can then start using the trademark legally. Moreover, you will be provided with an ™ application number from this point on. The trademarks can only be filed online by a registered lawyer or at the central trademark department office.
Step 4: Verification of Trademarks
Once the trademark registration is over, the verification process begins. A verified trademark office can only do the verification. The government. has the authority to object whenever this is copying the name of the trademark to another trademark. Only when nobody objects to the chosen trademark, an advertisement will be published in trademark journals by the registrar of the trademark. There will be a waiting time of 4 months so that any party can file an opposition. In the coming 6 months, the trademark gets registered. Even though this process takes time, you will be provided with all the necessary updates. When any objections are raised, an additional fee is charged.
Step 5: Hearing Before the Registrar
Once an objection is filed by any opposition and the opposition isn't satisfied with your responses. A hearing session is held before the registrar. Lawyers are appointed for the same, which charges extra to fight for your case.
Once the trademark is registered and the status says "objected", then it signifies that the authority received more than one objection to the trademark, which can be due to various reasons-
- It can be due to copying or duplication of an already existing trademark.
- The trademark is found offensive.
- Or multiple other reasons for the objection.
These objections are raised under sections 9 and 11. According to section 11, authorities raise objections when they see the same trademark and the already existing trademark is similar to services or products. Whenever this happens, the person is asked to give appropriate documents within the given time to help him overcome the objection raised.
Section 9, under this section, the objections are filed when the authority finds the trademark is descriptive of goods as it is said to be illegal to describe the goods or services in the trademark.
Advantages of Trademark Registration
- It is an excellent business opportunity- Once a good or service is attached to a registered trademark, it assists the brand in developing quality, safety and trust of the customers in the brand. It gives one unique identity to the brand compared to other products in the same line.
- Global filing of trademark- When a trademark is registered and filed in records in India, it becomes legal to file the same in other countries. Foreigners are also allowed to register and file trademarks in India.
- Infringement protection- Getting one's trademark registered also ensures that the trademark isn't already in use by some other brand unethically. When the trademark is in use without taking the owner's permission under whom the trademark is registered, the owner is allowed to take legal action with respect to the person or company using it.
- Advertising purpose- Advertising assists in establishing goodwill and carrying it forward. Whenever a brand gets famous, the customers attach the name of a brand to the trademark, and hence, goodwill is established. When this type of product comes into the market, it already has established goodwill which helps in increasing the sales.
Necessary Documents for Registration of a Trademark
Even before the documents are prepared, the owner signs an authorisation letter, enabling them to file for registration on behalf of the owner. Once the authorisation process is complete, the document preparation begins, necessary when applied online. After this, the owner receives the approval of the application and gains the right to legally use the ™ number.
The necessary documents required are-
- PAN Card and address proof
- Proof of application
- Certificate of registration
- User affidavit
- Brand name and logo
- Proof of ™ use
- Startup recognition
- Signed ™ form
The application for registration doesn't work forever and expires after a certain period of 10 years. After 10 years, the owner needs to file for trademark renewal. The trademark renewal should be filed before the expiry to ensure a seamless process without any litigation chances.
The renewal application is made in form 12. It can be executed by the owner or by an agent that the owner chooses and has been duly approved. The help of a professional for the renewal application for the trademark ensures that the trademark is well protected. One may need to increase the scope of the protection to maintain the brand's goodwill.
The renewal application comes under form 12. The application is to be executed either by an owner or by the agent duly approved by the owner. One must take the help of a professional to ensure that the symbol of the trademark is well protected to maintain the name and goodwill that the trademark has already established.
Filing for the renewal of a trademark increases protection for the next 10 years and needs to be renewed after 10 years again; with the help of technology, the trademark registration can be done easily online. One can take the help of a registered trademark attorney for online registration without visiting the registry.
Trademarks help in free competition protecting the goodwill of a company/business and yet providing it with a unique identity. We have discussed the different steps in trademark registration, different types of remedies available when infringement of trademarks happens and what all can be considered as a trademark and hence registered. In brief, we have also learned who all register trademarks and what necessary documents are required to get one's trademark registered. One should understand how important yet helpful trademark registration can be, and they should get their brand registered on a priority basis.