Are you considering Trademark registration in India if you own or want to own a business? Does a company need it, or is it just a good-to-have? How would you feel when someone uses your business name without your permission?
Even the worst-case scenario would be, after working so hard to build your brand and loyalty in the minds of your clients, you have discovered that you are infringing upon someone else's trademark. You will, therefore, not be able to use that name for your business. A vast amount of time, effort, and cost would be wasted! Would you like to avoid devastating situations that can harm your company's reputation? The hard work you put into building the business's brand name (image) could go to waste!
A business name, brand, logo, image, and legally protected identity are of utmost importance, and trademark registration is the key to achieving this goal. Therefore, Trademark registration in India is essential. Keep reading to learn about trademark registration fees in India.
Did You Know? Since 2020, the number of trademark registrations in India has increased by 33.96%. The number of applications filed in 2021 exceeded three lakhs.
What is a Trademark?
Trademarks are logos and brands that represent your business. The trademark owner uses visual symbols such as a word signature, name, device, label, numerals, or combination of colours to distinguish goods or services from similar goods or services originating from other businesses. Manufacturers or service providers use trademarks such as words, symbols, logos, brand names, packaging, labels, taglines, or combinations to identify their products and services. Trademarks help to differentiate products or services belonging to the owners from those of competitors.
Pepsi and Coca-Cola are two trademarks belonging to the same industry (beverages) that distinguish the origin and quality of the goods.
Dominos is also included when it comes to trademark examples. In Fact the McDonald’s® golden arches design is an example of a registered trademark in special form format.
India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Department of Patents, Designs and Trademarks regulate trademark registration. According to the Trademark Act of 1999, trademark owners are entitled to sue for damages when infringing their trademarks.
In contrast, trademarks identical or deceptively similar to existing registered trademarks or trademarks for pending registration applications cannot be reported. Registering a trademark may also be impossible, which will likely cause confusion or deception.
Who are Eligible to Apply for a Trademark?
Anyone can claim ownership of a trademark, regardless of whether they are an individual, a company, a proprietor, or a legal entity. You can file for the brand within a few days and start using the "TM" symbol. Generally, it takes 8 to 24 months for the trademark registry to complete formalities. When your trademark is registered and the registration certificate is issued, you can use the ® (Registered symbol) next to it. Following ten years from the filing date of a trademark, it is possible to renew it periodically.
Trademarks serve the following functions:
- A brand identifies a product or service and its source
- It provides quality assurance
- Helps advertise products or services
Trademark Types in India
There are several types of trademarks:
- An applicant's name (including their surname or personal name, or signature)
- Any word not directly describing the goods/services, such as a coined word, an invented word, or an arbitrary dictionary word
- It may be alphanumeric, letters, numbers, or a combination of all three.
- It uses images, symbols, monograms, shapes, and letters.
- Marks with sound in audio format
Documents Required for Trademark Registration in India
Trademark applications in India require the following documents:
- Copies of trademarks or logos
- Details of the applicant include name, address, nationality, and state of incorporation.
- The goods or services that need to be registered
- Describe when you first used the trademark in India, if you did so before applying.
- The applicant must sign a power of attorney.
Trademark Registration Procedure in India
The following gives a brief outline of the process to apply for a trademark in India
Step 1: Trademark search
The time required is approximately 4 hours. The cost is between ₹ 0 and ₹ 500.
This search confirms whether the name or logo is similar to a registered trademark. A trademark attorney or agent usually searches with the Trademark Office to find out if anyone has already registered identical trademarks. The next step is determining if it is unique.
Step 2: Create a trademark application
Two to three days are required for filing a trademark application.
If your business name/logo is unique, the trademark attorney will draft a trademark application based on the search results. You must change your trademark if someone else already has the same or a similar one. Once you file a trademark application, you can start using the TM symbol.
Step 3: Trademark registration
The entire process of trademark registration usually takes upto 8-24 months depending upon several factors such as approval and paperworks.
Individual/Startup/ Small Enterprise fees are ₹4,500/- (all other cases are ₹9,000/-), and trademark attorney fees are ₹3,500/- per application per class.
The first step is for the Trademarks Office to determine whether someone has already claimed your trademark, which will raise a trademark objection if there is any.
When there are no objections, Trade Marks Journal publishes the advertisements. A trademark is always connected to the specific goods or services sold to customers with that trademark.
Trademark registration is completed six months after filing if there are no oppositions from other businesses.
The trademark registration fees of drafting legal responses to objections can range from ₹2,000/- to ₹5,000 to overcome the protests, and in case a hearing is needed, it depends on the complexity of the matter.
Trademark Registration in India - Steps
Getting a trademark registered in India involves the following steps:
- You should choose and authorise a trademark attorney or agent to represent you.
- It is the trademark attorney's responsibility to search.
- Trademark attorneys draft trademark applications based on the results of their search. A similar or identical trademark may already exist, so you may need to change yours.
- After filing your trademark application with the Trademark Office, you will receive a receipt.
- As soon as the trademark attorney has filed your trademark with the Trademark Office, they will send you the Original Representation Sheet.
- Depending on objections from the trademark office or anyone else, the trademark office may take up to two years to grant you a trademark. The Trademark Journal publishes your brand.
Benefits of Trademark Registration
Below are some advantages of registering Trademarks for your company.
- The most prominent companies, such as Coca-Cola, Siemens, and Apple, protect their businesses through trademarks.
- It would help if you had a trademark for your business since it is an important asset and contributes to goodwill.
- A registered trademark protects your business name and logo from being used by others for the goods or services you have trademarked.
- It is possible to sell, license, or assign trademarks like real estate.
- It ensures that goods and services are authentic.
- It encourages further purchases.
- As a badge of loyalty and affiliation serves as a symbol of commitment.
- The consumer may be able to express their lifestyle or fashion through it.
Trademark Registration Fees in India
Upon acceptance and publication in the official journal, the trademark is open for opposition for four months. You will have to go through a separate procedure if it is opposed, which would be subject to additional charges based on the facts of the case. A startup with a DIPP certificate will not have to pay professional bills but will have to pay an official fee of ₹5000.
Trademark is one of the essential assets of your business. Unfortunately, many brands lack awareness of the trademark registration process and often tend to avoid it entirely because they see it as too lengthy or complex. However, the method is simple, and you must follow that to ensure you avoid issues later on down the road when trying to protect or sell your brand.
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