A trademark is a graphic emblem. Any indicator that helps customers distinguish one product or service from all the others can be a name, a colour, a word, or anything else. Trademarks are listed by the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks, which is part of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. All trademarks are registered under the Trade Marks Act of 1999, granting the owner the exclusive authority to prosecute when fraud occurs.
The owner's intellectual property and the registered trademarks protect the company's reputation and emblem.
For a business, registering a trademark is a must. The existing registered trademarks cannot be registered again. It is impossible to register obscene, overly generic, or indistinct trademarks, including symbols or words that are legally protected.
Did you know?
A trademark renewal application form is valid for the next ten years and can be readily filed after a trademark registration expires.
Also read: Types of Trademarks That Can Be Registered in India
An Overview of Trademark Registration in India
A trademark is a distinctive identity that differentiates your business, product or service from the competition. Your company's intangible assets and intellectual property are registered trademarks. It ensures a financial commitment to earn the loyalty and trust of your consumers. Registration gives you the legal ability to sue those who try to use a similar trademark to yours and prohibits others from doing so.
What Products May Be Registered as Trademarks?
There are numerous facets of your brand's image that might be trademarked. Which component of your brand stands out to your customers is the factor you need to consider. Select the relevant aspect(s) to register.
The name of a certain product can be registered as a trademark. The iPod is a trademarked product name of Apple.
The most popular course of action for firms is registering their company names as trademarks. Ex: Bajaj.
Name/Surname of the Person:
If your name is crucial to bringing in money, you can even trademark it! Ex: Shah Rukh Khan has registered his name as a trademark.
A trademark can also include a company or brand name abbreviation.
It is very advised to trademark your logo because it serves as a physical representation of your brand. A logo is easier for your customers to remember than a name. The Nike "swoosh" is a fantastic illustration of a logo trademark.
You can also register your brand's tagline as a trademark if you have one. A tagline explains to your target audience what your company stands for.
A colour mark allows you to protect a single colour or a group of colours. (For instance, Royal Blue has been trademarked by Cadbury.)
If we can demonstrate that a musical note or sound is distinctive, we can register it as a trademark. Nokia registered its song as a trademark.
Scents can be registered as trademarks. The ability to visually depict the product's aroma and the ability to demonstrate that it is different from the product itself are requirements for registration of a smell mark. For instance, a sample of the scent in a bottle would degrade with time and could not be maintained on a trademark registration.
5. Shape Mark
The Indian Trademarks Act, 1999 states that a trademark may also encompass a product's shape or packaging if it may be graphically represented in a legible manner. This aids in separating the products sold under this brand from those made by other companies.
When a product's shape or packaging has a distinguishing quality, it might be registered. Take decorative lamps as an example. In some circumstances, a product's or packaging's (three-dimensional) shape might serve as a trademark.
In a nutshell, Shape Mark has made it easier to promote items and has developed into a form of trademark following the growth of graphics technology. Shape marking can be done on any graphic that can distinguish one product from another.
6. Pattern Mark
These are the logos made up of a pattern that can distinguish one company's products from those of other companies and identify the goods or services as coming from that company. Such items and services are eligible for registration as pattern marks.
The process for determining whether pattern marks are distinctive is the same as for other sorts of marks. Pattern markings that are descriptive or difficult to distinguish are unacceptable since they cannot be used to identify the source of a product in commerce. Without proof of uniqueness, such goods/services would not be approved for registration. When a pattern mark is associated with a certain undertaking's goods or services in the public's perception, it gains acquired distinctiveness and qualifies for pattern mark registration.
So a pattern can identify a product from those of other brands, making it a pattern trademark.
7. Certification Mark
It is a sign showing that the product's origin, substance, quality, correctness, or other attributes have been verified by the sign's owner. This is distinct from a typical trademark, which serves to identify the products and services that come from a single business.
In essence, the standard is defined through certification markings. They assure customers that the goods adhere to predetermined criteria. When a product bears a certification mark, it means that it has undergone the required standard tests. Customers are assured that manufacturers have undergone an auditing process to achieve the appropriate level of product/service quality.
Products like food, toys, cosmetics, and electrical items, among others, have markings that specify the safety and quality of the item.
Also read: Guide on ™ Symbol, Registered Trademark®, and Copyright©
The Significance of Trademark registration
For a firm, trademark registration is crucial and required because:
- It displays your distinctive personality.
- It aids in fostering your consumers' loyalty and trust.
- It provides the identity of your brand with legal protection.
- It safeguards against the unlawful use of your brand's identity, making it valuable in and of itself.
Classes of Trademarks
There are 45 trademark classes, and each class has a category for the various products and services. The classifications you choose must be carefully considered since they will affect whether or not your trademark is valid for the goods and services offered by your company.
Make careful to file for the trademark under all the relevant classes if your company offers a variety of goods and services that fall under several classifications.
In India, some of the most popular trademark classes are:
- Class 9: which comprises electronics and software for computers,
- Clothing is included in Class 25,
- Business management and advertising are included in Class 35, and
- Education and entertainment are included in Class 41.
The competition for a trademark may be greater if you are in one of these classifications. That shouldn't matter, though, as long as your mark is distinctive.
How to Register a Trademark
The registrar of trademarks is responsible for trademark registration. There are a few steps to take when you want to register a trademark.
Step 1: Select a trademark
Do not forget to select a special and distinctive emblem to serve as your company's logo. The other crucial aspect is figuring out which class you fall into. There are 45 categories of products and services under which a trademark can now be registered. Classes 1-34 cover products, and 35-45 cover services. The list of classes can be found here.
Step 2: Mark the search
Once you have decided on a mark, it is wise to perform a search to see if it is comparable to any existing registered marks. You can accomplish this on your own by visiting the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks' website. There is a public search option available on the website. After selecting this option, you must select your class and conduct an online database search.
The safer alternative is to get legal counsel, even if you will have to pay for it. In general, legal services will be less expensive if your trademark is challenged.
Step 3: Application filing
A single application may be submitted for a number of classes, series, or collective trademarks. You must complete form TM-A for this. You can register a trademark for more than one class using this form. This form filing includes two distinct price tiers:
- Either 9,000 or 10,000 rupees
You fit into this category if you are not a start-up, small business, or an individual. If you submit the form to the Office of Trade Marks in person rather than electronically, you must pay a fee of Rs. 10,000.
- Either 4,500 or 5,000 rupees
You fall into this category if you're a start-up, a small business, or an individual. The fee is Rs. 4,500 for electronic filing and Rs. 5,000 for physical filing of the form.
Avoid making any mistakes when filling out the form as they could cause delays or possibly the application's rejection. You must complete all the fields and include a 9 by 5 cm trademark image in addition to the required information. You might need to attach five identical copies of the same document. The complete file must then be filed along with two duplicates.
Depending on what is most convenient for you, you can submit it online, by yourself, or through an agent. If filed electronically, confirmation of filing will be completed instantly; if filed physically, it could take up to 15-20 days.
The trademark examiner may occasionally find flaws or concerns with your property registration. These problems can include filing the wrong trademark application, giving the wrong name or address, using offensive or misleading phrases, providing insufficient information about the goods or services, or using an identical or misleadingly similar mark.
Following the raising of an objection, the status on the register will read "Objected," at which point a skillfully crafted answer must be filed together with any necessary proofs and documentation. Your chance to make your claim over your mark stronger and establish urgency is during the objection response.
The application will be handled further for registration and publication in the Trademark Journal if the response is approved. A trademark hearing may be arranged, and you will be notified if it is not accepted or if the examiner requests additional explanations.
The process normally takes 2-4 months from when the objection is initially lodged. While clearance is not guaranteed after completion, the chances are significantly increased.
Documents Needed to Register a Trademark
You must first give us the following information:
- Candidate's name
- Type of business
- Objectives for the business
- Brand name, logo, or slogan
- Registration information
- The necessary paperwork is:
- form 48 was signed
- proof of the signatory's identity
- Address verification for the signer
- Business evidence (depends on the type of business)
- MSME registration certificate and Udyog Aadhar (optional)
Also read: What is Business Combination? Meaning, Types and advantages
Trademarks aid in free competition by preserving a company's reputation and giving it a distinctive identity. We have discussed the various stages involved in trademark registration, the various sorts of legal recourse available in trademark infringement cases, and the various things that can be used as trademarks and thus registered. In a nutshell, we now know who registers trademarks and what paperwork is needed to file a trademark application. One should be aware of how crucial yet beneficial trademark registration may be, and one ought to register their brand as soon as possible.
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