A digital signature is a subscriber to the document authenticating any electronic document. According to Section 3 of The Information Technology Act of 2000, such authentication is done using an electronic method or procedure. In layman’s term the electronic analogues of traditional wet signatures or stamp seals are digital signatures. In comparison to stamp, seals and wet signatures, digital signatures are a much safer and more reliable method of document authorisation. Further exploring the subject of electronic signatures, this article will explain what a digital signature certificate is and the three types of DSCs and the use of DSC in trademark registration.
Meaning of Digital Signature Certificates
A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is an encrypted key that includes the user’s name, country, email address, and other personal data. Digital Signature Certificates use a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to create and manage the signatures.
MCA 21 is an initiative that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) launched with the intention to:
- Simplify forms,
- Make such forms e-centric and
- Promote online transactions
The sorting, storing, and retrieval of paper-based records presented exceedingly difficult operations before the deployment of this project. Long lines might be seen outside the government offices due to manual data gathering and verification procedures.
The MCA 21 Programme was subsequently implemented in order to bring about business reforms, good governance, and regulation. The purpose of such a programme was:
- To enable businesses to register company and file documents digitally
- Help public to access records easily and quickly
- Enable professionals to offer efficient services to their customers
- Help MCA to warrant effective compliance with regards to laws and corporate governance
The MCA 21 Programme for e-governance includes a Digital Signature Certificate. We need to have a few documents on hand in order to submit a trademark application online. The Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is one of those files. Here, we’ll go over a number of valuable advantages of applying for a trademark using DSC. Read on to discover DSC for trademarks.
What Is DSC In Trademark Registration?
A Certifying Authority (CA) can provide a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC), an encrypted key that includes the user’s name, country, email address, and other personal data. Digital Signature Certificates use a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to create and manage the signatures. By collecting data and assuring signing process security, DSC makes it easier to identify the issuer.
DSC is a well-known digital tool for data storage and document signing. The usability and essential features of DSC have been relied upon by numerous government agencies and other service industries for electronic document signing. It provides many levels of cyber security assistance for sensitive data transmission and numerous online transactions.
According to the Government of India under the Information Technology Act of 2000, all tax returns, registration forms, and e-procurement must be accompanied by Digital Signature Certifications. This confirms the identity of the signer and guarantees that the provided information has not been changed or altered. These certificates offer security from damaging cyberattacks, forgeries, and data breaches. Therefore for the same purpose under the Trademark Act must have DSC in trademark registration. It can be granted as ordered by the Controller of Certifying Authority CCA.
DSC applicants may apply for any applicable DSC type depending on their signature needs. The various types of digital signatures are briefly outlined below.
What Are The Different Classes Of A Digital Signature Certificate?
Before we move to the process of DCS in trademark registration, let us first look at the three different categories of Digital Signature Certificates (DSC), which are covered below:
Class 1 Certificate:
Individuals and private subscribers are awarded Class 1 Digital Signature Certificates. It comprises information about the user’s name and email address in the Certifying Authority’s Database.
Class 2 Certificate:
DSC Class 2 is provided to organisations and persons who have signing authority, such as CEOs and Directors. Class 2 Digital Signing Certificates can be applied to government e-documents such as Income Tax Returns (ITR) and GST Returns (GSTR).
Class 3 Certificate:
Class 3 digital signatures certificates are given out to both people and businesses. High assurance certifications are mostly used for online tenders and e-auctions.
Use of DCS in Trademark Registration
A valid digital signature certificate also known as DSC is required to use the online filing system for trademarks. The same has been mandated by the Information Technology (IT) Act of 2000, the act also mandates the use of digital signatures on electronic documents to ensure their security and authenticity.
It is now necessary to obtain a Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate in order to use the trade mark e-filing system. Therefore, to proceed with registering a trademark, any individual, lawyer, or agent must first obtain a Class 3 DSC.
You must get a Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate because only these with Class 3 DSC one can file an application for trademark registration. With that the Class 3 DSC offers the highest level of security and has the validity of 1-2 years. The DSC must be renewed at the end of this time frame.
Therefore, submit a DSC first if you intend to submit an application for trademark registration in India.
What Is Class 3 DSC In Trademark Registration?
With a validity duration of between one and two years, the Class 3 digital signature certificate offers the highest level of security. The DSC needs to be refreshed after this point. A Class 3 or Class 2 DSC is required to submit a trademark application; hence obtaining one of these classes is necessary to submit a trademark application in India.
Legislation Applicable In India
In India, the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and the Trade Marks Regulations, 2017 both regulate the registration of trademarks. At various points during the trademark registration procedure, the applicant or their authorised agent must utilise a DSC, as required by the Act and the Regulations. In India Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) for trademark registration are governed and regulated under the provision of Information Technology Act of 2000 and the Information Technology (Certifying Authorities) Rules of 2000.
Section 3(2)(b) of the Information Technology Act of 2000 states that any subscriber may attach his digital signature to an electronic record to authenticate it. According to the Act, a digital signature is a specific kind of electronic signature that uses asymmetric cryptographic keys to verify the signer’s identity and guarantee the integrity of the document.
The Information Technology (Certifying Authorities) Regulations, 2000 set forth the requirements for the issuance and upkeep of Digital Signature Certificates (DSCs) in India by Certifying Authorities (CAs) that possess a current licence. Rule 6 of the Regulations mandates that CAs confirm the applicant’s identity and the accuracy of the information provided before issuing a DSC.
Additionally, DSCs must be used to submit trademark applications and other paperwork online to the Indian Trademark Registry in accordance with the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and the Trade Marks Regulations of 2017. The use of DSCs ensures the accuracy and reliability of the submitted documents.
Mandatory Requirements for DSC in Trademark Registration
A DSC is required for the online submission of trademark applications and supporting documents with the Indian Trademark Registry. The DSC is required to check the legitimacy of the documents being filed as well as the applicant’s or their authorised representative’s identity.
Here is a brief tutorial on how to obtain and use a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) in India to register a trademark:
- Pick an Indian Certifying Authority (CA) that has a licence from the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA).
- Enclose the DSC application with the necessary paperwork, such as identification and address proof.
- Provide the CA with identification documentation, such as a passport or PAN card.
- Pay the DSC fees, which differ depending on the kind of DSC and how long it is valid for.
- To complete the verification process, go in person to the CA’s office or use online verification.
- Follow the CA’s instructions to install the DSC on your PC or USB token after it has been issued.
- Log in to the Trademark Registry’s website using your credentials and go to the relevant form or document for trademark registration.
- After choosing the option to sign the form or document using the DSC, adhere to the directions to attach the DSC.
- Use the Internet to send the signed form or document to the Trademark Registry.
- You will receive a receipt acknowledgement from the Trademark Registry, which you may use to monitor the progress of your trademark application.
Choosing an authorised Certifying Authority, submitting the application form and supporting documents, going through the verification process, installing the DSC, and using it to electronically sign and submit the necessary forms and documents to the Trademark Registry are all steps in the process of obtaining and using a DSC for trademark registration in India.
Validity of Digital Signature Certificates
Typical the validity period of a DSC issued by Certified Authorities (CA) is one (1) or two (2) years. These may, however, be renewed in accordance with the format and fees that the Central Government may have specify.
The DSC renewal request must be submitted at least 45 days prior to the DSC’s validity period expiring.
A digital signature is nothing more than the subscriber to the document authenticating for any electronic document. As per the Section 3 of Information Technology Act, 2000, such authentication must be carried out using an electronic method or procedure.
Read Our Article: How To Register DSC For Trademark Registration?