A registered trademark is a logo, pattern, or phrase identifying and separating a company’s goods or services. Trademarks are essential for creating a brand identity, building customer loyalty, and protecting a business’s reputation. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property laws after they are registered, which prohibits others from using them without authorization. Businesses use the trademark as a critical tool to set their products separate from others. Preventing consumer misunderstanding is among the significant advantages of keeping trademark protection in place. Long-term financial gains, legal protections, and the preservation of the company’s reputation all result from trademark protection. Scroll down to check more about Trademark Alteration.
What Do You Mean By A Registered Trademark?
A registered trademark identifies and distinguishes the products or services of one firm from those of another by using a symbol, word, phrase, design, or combination of these features. Trademarks are registered to safeguard the owner’s exclusive right to use the trademark in connection with their goods or services. A trademark that has been registered is legally recognized and gives the owner the right to sue anyone who seeks to use the same or a similar mark without permission.
What is Trademark Alteration?
Making alterations to a registered trademark that has previously been given protection by registering it with the trademark office is referred to as trademark alteration. A trademark can be changed for several reasons, including upgrading the mark, changing the colour scheme, or extending the protection of offers to new goods or services. Any modifications made must adhere to the laws governing trademarks and not harm the trademark’s distinctiveness or originality. Trademark alteration is laid down under Section 59 of the Trademark Act, 1999. Section 59(1) states that any modifications or changes to a trademark must not substantially alter the trademark’s identity.
Examples of Alterations in Trademark
Factors to Consider During the Trademark Alteration Process
There are a number of crucial considerations to ensure a registered trademark change is practical and compliant with the law. These are some crucial factors to consider during Trademark Alteration Process:
- Maintaining Distinctiveness:
Retaining distinctiveness is one of the most important things to take into account when making changes to a trademark. Even after the change, the trademark should still be recognizable as the same brand. This can be accomplished by preserving the trademark’s essential components, such as the brand name or logo.
- Avoiding Confusion with Other Trademarks:
A trademark should not be altered in a way that confuses other trademarks. Before making any changes, it is crucial to do a comprehensive search for identical trademarks. This will assist in avoiding legal problems and preserving the reputation of the company.
- Balancing the need for alteration with brand recognition:
While alteration may be necessary to keep a trademark up-to-date and relevant, it is essential to balance this need with brand recognition. Drastic changes to a trademark can confuse customers and erode brand loyalty. Careful consideration should be given to how alterations will affect the brand’s identity and recognition.
- Legal Compliance:
Every modification to a trademark registration must adhere to the laws governing trademarks. Making sure the revised trademark is still recognizable and does not violate the rights of other trademark owners is part of this. It’s crucial to follow the correct steps when submitting a trademark alteration request.
- Cost Implications:
Changing a trademark can be expensive, especially if it calls for updating packaging or marketing collateral. The expense of changing a trademark should be compared to any potential advantages, such as improved brand awareness or infringement protection.
Conditions Where the Trademark Alteration Is Allowed
Following are some conditions where the Trademark Alteration is allowed:
- A trademark is allowed to be altered when there is a change in the name of the business.
- When there is a change in the use or the control of the registered trademark, at that time also, trademark alteration is allowed.
- When a change in the address of the business takes place, trademark alteration is allowed.
- If a new license or registration was obtained or forfeited.
Conditions Where the Trademark Alteration Is Not Allowed
Following are the conditions where the Trademark Alteration is not allowed:
- When the changes are to be made in the word mark, the logo, or in colour specifications, alteration is not allowed.
- A change cannot be made in the claiming the user date, which is the date on which the trademark was started to use along with the products or services.
- A change in the type of the trademark is also not allowed. For instance, a wordmark cannot be changed into a device or label mark.
- The trademark class also cannot be altered.
- A change to the mark’s commercial description.
- If a public search has to be done after the alternations, then such alterations will not be allowed.
If the above-mentioned changes are to be made, then a new trademark application has to be filed; only then will these changes be allowed.
Step-by-Step Trademark Alteration Process
Following is the step-by-step Trademark Alteration Process:
- The Form TM-O must be filed for any modifications, addition, deletion or variation of any entry relating to a trademark or a collective mark or a certification trademark.
- The form is to be accompanied by a statement which sets forth all relevant facts, the justifications for the modifications, and other relevant information.
- If the person submits an application but is not a registered user of the trademark, the application has to be made through the trademark registry.
- For the approval of the alterations that are to be made, the application of the alterations must be sent to all the registered users to inform them about the alterations.
- The registrar will send each of the users who have registered within one month and wait an additional month in case there are any additional inquiries.
- The change will be made in accordance with the Rule 98 of the trademark rules of 2017 if no counterattacks are filed within three months.
- A Form TM-P is to be filed whenever the business’s registered offices address changes in any way.
- The application will then be published in the trademark journal by the registrar. If no objection is made to the alteration application, the alterations are made.
List of Forms for Trademark Alteration
Following is the list of forms required for Trademark Alteration:
- Form TM- 33
For minor alterations to the registered owner’s name or description.
- Form TM-34
For making changes in the address of the registered trademark owner.
- Form TM-35
For cancelling a registered trademark.
- Form TM-36
To strike out all or some of the products or services.
- Form TM-40
To make changes in the classification forms
- Form TM-38
To make alterations or addition to a registered trademark
In conclusion, altering a registered trademark can be a complex process which requires careful consideration of various factors. While there may be valid reasons for altering a trademark, such as the need to keep up with changing consumer preferences or to protect against infringement, it is essential to balance this need with the brand’s identity and recognition. Any alteration must comply with the legal framework governing trademarks, and proper procedures must be followed to ensure legal compliance. Maintaining the trademark’s distinctiveness and avoiding trademark confusion is crucial when thinking about trademark modification. To maintain the trademark’s effectiveness and relevance, it is imperative to strike a balance between the need for change and the need for brand identification. Economic considerations are also essential to consider because changing a trademark can be expensive.