Trademarks and registered trademarks, and Intellectual property are very important for businesses in a highly competitive economic environment in India and domestic and international trade. For a manufacturer, a trademark enables consumers and the business community to identify the source of goods and services, provides legal protection to the brand, and helps prevent counterfeiting and fraud. In India, the trademark registry was established in 1940, succeeded by the Trademark Act of 1999. The trademark registry is the authority vested with the responsibility to implement and regulate all the rules of the trademark law in India. The Trademark registry has its head office in Mumbai, and branch offices in Delhi, Kolkota, Chennai, and Ahmedabad.
Did you know? India recorded the highest trademark applications of 3,23,798 in FY 2018-19, and the cumulative number of trademarks filed crossed the 5 million mark in FY 2020-21.
What Is a Trademark and Trademark Registration?
A trademark is a noticeable sign/insignia, picture, symbol, graphics, logo, word, or phrase that denotes a particular product that legally differentiates from similar products. Therefore a trademark specifically identifies a product made by a particular company, recognising the brand being owned by the company. Hence, trademarks are generally considered intellectual property and usually registered.
Trademark registration is the process of registering a company’s trademark with a competent registering authority, which confers the registered owner with the exclusive right to use the mark concerning a product or service.
In India, trademark registration empowers the applicant to use a symbol, graphic, or word to distinctly identify a business, product, or service from their competitors. This means that after the registration of a trademark, other organisations cannot use that trademark for the duration of its usage. Applicants with the approved trademark can use the symbol “TM” for their business, brand, or product. A registered trademark is therefore valued as a key asset for the organisation, as it helps protect and preserve its brand. Considering that the trademark registration process comprises several phases requiring constant follow-up with competent authorities, applicants should engage the services of a professional agency or consultant.
Trademark Registration in Kolkata
The trademark registration office in Kolkata has jurisdiction coverage of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, and Jharkhand states, as well as the union territories of Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Eligibility Criteria for Trademark Registration
Trademark registrations protect unique brands, symbols, slogans, or invented items. Individuals, corporations, and non-profit organisations can apply for trademark registration. However, it must be noted that several categories of persons or entities have specific and separate requirements for filing a trademark application.
Those eligible for trademark registration in India include:
- An individual
- Joint Owners
- Partnership Firm
- Proprietorship Firms
- Limited Liability Partnership
- Indian Company
- Foreign Company
- Society or Trust
Various Types of Trademark Registration:
There are several types of trademark registration available, which include:
1) Product mark: A product mark is used to identify the particular product. as compared to service. The product mark also helps in finding out the product's origin and, importantly in protecting the business’s image and reputation.
Trademark applications filed under the trademark category: 1- 34 represent products and are therefore classified as product marks.
2) Service mark: Similar to the product mark, a service mark represents a service. The key purpose of the service mark is to distinguish the service mark owners from the owners of other similar services. The applications submitted under the trademark category: 35-45 represent services and can be considered a service mark.
3) Collective mark: The collective mark indicates the distinct characteristics of products and services used to represent a collective. The collective mark can be used by a group of people to collectively protect products and services. The collective mark holder can be an association, public Institution, or a Section 8 company.
4) Certification mark: A certification mark is a label that indicates the product’s source, material, quality, or other specific information provided by the owner/proprietor. The main purpose of certification is to enhance the level of the product while ensuring the product’s high quality to customers by demonstrating and certifying the product to have completed quality standard tests.
5) Shape mark: The shape or form mark is exclusively used to protect the shape of a product so that customers associate it with a specific manufacturer and choose to purchase that product. The shape can be registered after determining that the product has a unique shape.
6) Pattern mark: Products with specifically designed patterns to indicate the product’s distinguishing feature use pattern markings. The distinctiveness of a pattern mark is a prerequisite for it to be registered.
7) Sound mark: A sound mark indicates a sound that is associated with a product or service that comes from a specific supplier. The beginning and conclusion of commercials have audio mnemonics or sound logos. The melody for the Indian Premier League is the most popular sound mark in India.
Documents Required for Trademark Registration in Kolkata
The following documents about the owner, are required for trademark registration:
- Identity proof
- Aadhaar Card
- Certificate of Incorporation ( in case of a Private Limited Company)
- Udyog Aaadhar Registration (MSME Certificate)
- High-resolution Logo, if applicable and available
- Proof of Address
Trademark Registration Process
The trademark registration process typically comprises:
Application Preparation – The trademark expert will prepare the application based on requirements and as per the information provided.
Trademark filing – A trademark application prepared and signed by the applicant, is submitted to or filed with the Trademark Registrar. Soon after filing the trademark application, the applicant can start using the trademark.
Trademark registration – Government will start processing the application soon after the trademark registration application is filed with Registrar. Progress or status updates will be provided through SMS and e-mail.
Benefits of Trademark Registration in Kolkata:
Trademark registration is an essential requirement for most companies and entrepreneurs. They require a trademark because it helps protect the brand, and is a significant asset for the company. Obtaining a trademark provides several benefits, which include:
1) Protection of Intellectual Property: Registered trademark provides legal protection against unauthorized use or reproduction of the company’s name or registered logo. The trademark owner can legally enforce intellectual property rights in any court. The trademark owner acquires nationwide ownership of the mark. The trademark registration serves as an official acknowledgement and notice of the trademark being already registered.
2) Provides a strong deterrent: The trademark owner has the right to publicly market the brand as a registered trademark, which notifies others and prevents innocent infringement defences. Soon after registration of a trademark, it will appear in search reports, which discourages other applicants from seeking or planning to pursue registration of the same or similar mark. The National Trademark Office in New Delhi will deny registration of a trademark that appears to be confusingly similar to another such trademark, registered earlier.
3) Legal remedies: The trademark owner in India can claim hefty damages from the infringing business entity. By registering A registered trademark owner has the right to sue in court, anyone who is misusing the mark. At the same time, an unregistered trademark is also vulnerable to lawsuits.
Registered trademark and Intellectual property rights are crucial for Entrepreneurs and businesses to protect and preserve their brands, in a highly competitive economy space. Individual Entrepreneurs, Proprietary firms, Partnership firms, Indian and foreign companies, and Society or Trust, are all eligible to apply for a trademark. There are different types of trademark registration which comprise: Product Mark, Service Mark, Collective Mark, Certification Mark, Shape Mark, Pattern Mark, and Sound Mark. As in other trademark registrars, the Trademark Office, Kolkata specifies the same eligibility criteria for applicants from all the jurisdictional states. Trademark registration is very important for all businesses and entrepreneurs, to protect their brand. The trademark owner is entitled to several benefits: which include protection of intellectual property rights, acting as a strong deterrent to potential infringers, and legal recourse to sue infringers and seek stiff penalties.
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