An Overview of Brand Name Registration
A brand name is considered synonymous with the business of an organisation, its products and its services. Brand name or trademark is one of the most valuable assets company. It is a form of identification, and it significantly contributes towards building the public image of the company. A trademark is a symbol, and it can include a name, word, label, number, logo, or combination of colours, among other things. It is a mark of the distinctiveness and uniqueness that helps identify and differentiate the brand of a company. Registration of a brand name or trademark registration is not only prudent but imperative to protect one’s business and to prevent unauthorised use of the brand name. The process of Brand Name Registration can be a bit tricky, and a business or individuals seeking to register their brand should take the help of a well-trained trademark professional like Corpbiz to carry out the process by following the requisite laws and regulations for Brand Registration.
It is essential to have a distinctive brand name and a logo design and as it is considered one of the most critical assets of a business. Brand Name Registration is governed by the Trademark Act of 1999. A trademark in India is registered by the office of the registrar of trademarks, the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Government of India.
Features of a Brand Name
Below mentioned are a few essential features that one needs to know about a brand name or a registered trademark:
- A visual representation
The types of trademarks that can get registered are pretty varied, and here are a few types:
- Intangible Asset
A trademark is a kind of intellectual property that brings immense benefits to a business. Once a trademark is registered, it becomes an intangible asset that can be franchised, traded, commercially contracted and distributed.
- Protection Against Infringement and Legal Protections
The owner of a duly registered trademark can exercise her legal rights if there is infringement with respect to the logo of the owner, the brand name, slogan that has an active trademark registered against it. The owner of a registered trademark has the right to sue any person the uses the trademark and obtain damages along with any profits which the infringer may have received by using the trademark without the prior permission of the brand owner.
- Trademark Search
A trademark search is often carried out in order to check if a particular trademark is already in existence. The search can also be conducted through the Indian trademark registry database of the Government of India or through the website of a 3rd party service provider.
- Class Selection
For the purposes of registration of a brand name or a trademark, the goods and services are classified into 45 different classes. Every brand name is required to be registered under the appropriate classes at another time when the application is being made. Out of the 45 classes, 34 classes belong to goods, and the remaining 11 classes are for services.
- Voluntary registration
Registration of a trademark is not at all compulsory but is done on a voluntary basis. However, if a brand name is registered, it is concrete evidence that the ownership of the trademark vests the individual has made an effort to register it. Every legal decision will be in favour of the party with the registered trademark.
A registered trademark has a validity period of up to 10 years before it requires renewal to be valid. However, the process of renewal can be applied only within 1 year before the expiry of the validity period of the trademark. If one fails to renew the trademark as mentioned above, it shall be removed from the Registry. Even after removal, a trademark can be reinstated through what is known as the restoration of the trademark in the prescribed form.
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Different Types of Trademark Symbols
There are different symbols in relation to trademarks that are applied during different stages of trademark registration.
- Trade Mark (TM) and Service Mark (SM)
The (TM) or (SM) symbolises that the trademark has yet to be granted registration, but an application for the same has been made and spent. The purpose of these symbols is to warn 3rd parties to prevent infringement of the same. However, there is no specific legal consequence or significance of these symbols as the trademark application has yet to be approved why the appropriate authorities.
- R Symbol
Once the application for registration of the trademark has been approved by the registrar of trademarks, the owner of the trademark is allowed to display the ® symbol right next to the trademark. This symbolises that the trademark has been officially registered and that any infringement by any person or entity shall be punishable under the law.
However, it is not mandatory to display this symbol. It does help the owner of the trademark to protect it if any person is involved in the unauthorised use of the same. The owner shall not only have the remedy to stop such 3rd party from the unauthorised use but also has the right to recover prophets that were lost. This is because the court requires any person claiming infringement of a trademark to prove ownership and that the infringer was aware that the trademark was registered and yet used it unscrupulously without prior permission.
- C Symbol
This symbol is used to depict that the owner of a creative work has a copyright over it. This can include literary work, artwork, dramatic work or videography or software programs, among other things.
The © is valid for a lifetime. The symbol is used along with the name of the holder of the copyright, along with the year in which it was first published in the country where the work was first copyrighted. Overall, there is a lot to be considered and to be aware of when it comes to brand names or trademarks and their registration. The procedure to register a trademark is itself, and it is imperative to carry out proper research with respect to the same. Therefore, registering a brand name has its own benefits, but it must be done with due care and caution.
It is always prudent to take the help of professionals like Corpbiz, who have decades of experience in getting a trademark registered efficiently and minimum amount of time.
Benefits of Brand Name Registration
Registering a brand name order trademark has immense advantages and benefits to the owner as well as the business in general. Some of the benefits of Brand Name Registration are mentioned below:
- Legal protection:
Once a trademark has been registered, it shall be classified as intellectual property and is, therefore, protected from infringement. Trademark registration grants an exclusive right to the owner of the trademark to use it in relation to the class under which it was registered for its goods or services. Once the application for registration is filed, the symbol ™ can be applied to the products of the owner of the registered trademark. However, the symbol ® can be used only after the trademark registration certificate has been obtained. Furthermore, the symbol ® shall be used only for the goods or services that are mentioned in the registration certificate. In case of unauthorised use of one’s registered trademark, the owner can seek relief for infringement by approaching appropriate courts in the country.
- Product differentiation:
Registered trademarks are district and represent only the goods or services of the owner of the trademark for which it has been registered. Trademarks enable the differentiation of the product or services of a business from that of its competitors. Also, since registration of a trademark shall be valid for the goods or services it represents, it shall also help in distinctly identifying the products or services of the owner. Customers recognise the product or service depending on the brand name, and registration of a trademark helps create a solid customer base for one’s product.
- Brand recognition:
Customers associate the quality, performance, and features of a product with the business providing the products. The product is generally identified by the brand name or its logo. Registration of a trademark facilitates the recognition of a brand for its goods and services. It also helps create goodwill with respect to the brand. Once a brand is recognised well among customers, it carries a market value over time. Recognition of the brand helps bring in new customers and also maintain a loyal customer base.
- Creation of an asset:
Registration of a trademark creates an asset for a business. A trademark is considered an intangible asset for the purposes of accounting and income tax. Trademarks are intellectual property, and they are often associated with the services or goods that they represent. Trademarks can be franchised, sold, assigned and commercially exploited in any other manner. The value or cost that is associated with trademarks can be recognised in the book of accounts, and they can also claim a deduction for depreciation while also recovering income from the same.
- Business valuation and goodwill:
A Registered trademark that is associated with the products or services of a business helps enhance the overall goodwill, business value and net worth in the industry. The trademark is a symbol of the quality assurance, mission and distinct features of a business. Trademarks significantly contribute and the growth of a business. They also help retain customers while protecting the goodwill of a business.
- Trademark recognition:
A trademark that is registered in India is valid for a period of ten years from the date of filing of the application. Moreover, a trademark can be renewed after the above-mentioned ten years. In situations where an owner of a trademark wants to use it outside India or expand her business overseas, the owner shall be required to take the requisite approval or registration applicable to trademarks in the respective countries. In these cases, a registration certificate of a trademark in India can act as a base to obtain registrations in other jurisdictions.
- Business expansion:
A trademark helps establish a connection between the customers and the goods or services of a business. A customer base can be created through efficient and unique products. Trademark helps in expanding the business base by attracting new customers. It also helps in protecting the revenues obtained from the business for a period of 10 years. Businesses can also leverage the benefits of an existing customer base due to the registered trademark by introducing new products or services and thus expanding their business even more.
Process for Brand Name Registration
The registration of a trademark is done by the Registry of trademarks. The following steps have to be followed while registering a trademark:
- Choose a trademark:
It is vital to choose distinctive and unique marks which shall represent a business. Another critical point is to identify the class under which the business falls. As mentioned above, currently, there are 45 classes of different goods and services for registration of a trademark. Classes 1-34 are for goods, while Classes 34-45 are for services.
- Mark search:
Once an appropriate mark has been selected, it is advisable to do a trademark search to check if the chosen mark is identical or similar to the mark that has already been registered. This can either be done by visiting the official website of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks. On this website, one can conduct a public search after choosing the appropriate class and searching on the online database. Another option is to take the help of professionals like Corpbiz, who can help your brand name registration journey from the beginning till the end. Not only will we help you conduct a comprehensive search, but we shall also help you with the whole process.
- Preparing a trademark application
The below-mentioned supporting documents are required to be filled together with the application for online registration of the brand name:
- Registration proof of business: Based on the registered business, identity proof of the directors of the company and address proof must be submitted, along with the address proof of the company must be submitted, in case the registered business is a company. If the registered business is a sole proprietorship, then the ID proof of the proprietor must be submitted, like the Aadhaar card or PAN card.
- Soft copy of the trademark: the applicable proof of claim, a proposed trademark can also be used in another country.
- power of attorney which is signed by the applicant
- Filing application:
An application for registration of a trademark can be filed under multiple classes or a series of trademarks or collective marks. For this, one is required to fill in from TM-A. They shall allow one to register a trademark in more than one class. This form is often filled into separate cost brackets:
- ₹9000 or ₹10,000
If the business is not a startup or small enterprise or is not being filled by an individual, the application will fall under this bracket. The applicant shall be required to pay ₹9000 fulfilling the e-form or ₹10,000 if the form is filed in person at the office of trademarks.
- ₹4500 or ₹5000
If the applicant is an individual, or a small enterprise, or a startup, then the application shall fall under this bracket. The applicant shall can either file the e-form by making a payment of ₹4500 or can fill the form physically at the office of trademarks for ₹5000.
While filling out the form, the applicant has to make sure to avoid making any mistakes, as this can lead to delays or even rejection of the application. The applicant is required to fill in all the details and also provide an image of the trademark with dimensions of 9 by 5 centimetres. The applicant may also be required to attach five copies of the same. The entire file with respect to the application must be submitted along with two duplicates when filing.
- The examination process of brand name
Once the application has been dispatched, the registrar of a trademark shall check the applicant has followed certain conditions and that the brand name complies with the existing law. Moreover, there must not be any similarity with any pending or current brand names for registration. This is why it is imperative to choose a unique and distinctive brand name.
- Publication of the brand name in the Indian Trademark Journals
Once the process of examination has been completed, the registrar of trademarks the brand name in the Indian trademark journal. This is an essential part of trademark registration, and there must be no opposition within the 90-day period from the date of application, which is provided for the same or 120 in some cases. When there is no opposition, the registrar of trademarks shall proceed with issuing the trademark registration certificate.
- Trademark Opposition
In situations where oppositions have been filed by a 3rd party within three months of publication of the trademark in the Indian trademarks journal, the registrar shall provide notice of the same to the registrar with a copy of the notice of opposition. If the applicant does not submit a counter statement to the opposition within two months, the trademark application shall be considered to have been abandoned and will be rejected.
However, if oppositions are received within the above-mentioned three months, the brand name shall be accepted, and the registrar shall issue the trademark registration certificate.
- Hearing on Trademark Opposition
In situations where the trademark is supposed by a 3rd party and the applicant has sent the counter statement within two months of the receipt of notice of opposition, the registrar of trademarks shall send a copy of the counter-statement to the 3rd party opposing the registration of the trademark. Evidence is required to be submitted by the applicant and 3rd party in support of their respective cases. Registrar of trademarks shall give the applicant and the 3rd party an opportunity of being heard once the evidence is submitted. After both parties have been heard and after consideration of the evidence, the registrar shall pass an order either accepting or rejecting the trademark application.
- The Trademark Registration Certificate Issuance
if no opposition is raised within 90 days or if any opposition to the trademark application is successfully contended by the applicant, then the registrar of trademarks shall accept the application, and the registrar shall then Ashok registration certificate with the seal of the trademark registry on it.
Once the trademark registration certificate has been issued, one can use the registered trademark symbol alongside the brand name.
The trademark application can be filed online and offline. The only difference is that when the application is filed online, the applicant receives immediate confirmation, while if the application is submitted physically at the Trademark Office, confirmation can take anywhere between 15-20 days.
Corpbiz has decades of experience in registering trademarks for businesses and individuals successfully. Our trained professionals shall help you in your journey of registering your trademark right from the process of trademark search, filling out the application, and defending the trademark application in situations of opposition and other allied support. Corpbiz provides customised services that can suit the unique requirements of every business to ensure a hassle-free trademark registration experience for you and your business.