Trademark

Understanding the things that can be Trademarked

calendar26 Mar, 2024
timeReading Time: 5 Minutes
trademarked

Distinctive marks, symbols, logos, slogans, and designs that set one product or service apart from another in the marketplace are protected under trademark law. By acting as a source identifier, a trademark helps customers identify and connect goods and services to a specific business or brand. In essence, trademarks protect a company’s brand and avoid consumer confusion. Words, slogans, names, symbols, sounds, colours, and even smells can all be trademarks. Not every mark, nevertheless, qualifies for trademark protection. A mark must be unique, not generic, and utilized in commerce to be eligible. Businesses looking to protect their intellectual property legally and keep a competitive edge in the market must understand the things that can be trademarked. Getting the identification of trademarkable entities is very important since it saves a lot of time, and the process of registering a trademark is very smooth.

Benefits of Trademark Registration

Trademark registration comes with a lot of benefits –

  • The main benefit of registering a trademark is that it provides legal protection against the parties from infringement. If there is a trademark infringement, then the trademark holder can claim compensation from the infringing person.
  • It provides exclusivity to the products mentioned in the trademark class, and no one can use a similar trademark to propagate his goods or services.
  • Getting the trademark registration can help individuals differentiate their products from that of their competitors. This increases the growth and market value of the products.
  • It makes goodwill and builds the brand value of the product or services offered through the registered trademark. For example, KFC has taken the trademark, and it has built its products to unimaginable heights. 
  • Getting the trademark registration of the things that can be trademarked makes the product globally recognizable which helps the business to increase sales and make profits.
  • It also helps them in being eligible to get trademark registration in other countries thereby establishing their product/s apart from one’s country horizons.    
  • It helps maintain the customer base since a lot of customers don’t recognize the products but are certain about the brand which they are associated with.

What are the things that can be Trademarked?

Things that can be trademarked are as follows –

Name

One of the most popular things that can be trademarked is the name of the entity that is selling its services or products in the market. Although the business can use names of many things to get the trademark, which includes –

  • The name of the product can be used to get the trademark to establish the product in the market which helps get the product a name and easily recognizable in the market. For example, McDonald’s has trademarked the names of the burgers that it sells across the globe. This is what gives their products market access and recognition.
  • The name of the business is trademarked the most since it gives people a chance to know the whole business or company, helping them retain clients and attract new customers through publicity.
  • The name of any individual can also be protected under trademark under the condition that the person should be earning because of his/her name. A third person can also use his/her name if the person earning through his/her name has given an NOC. A prime example in India is Shahrukh Khan, who has taken trademark protection of his name. 
  • Not-so-common surnames can also be used to get trademark protection under trademarkable entities. A prime example of this would be names like Adani and TATA. However, common surnames like Sharma and Singh cannot be marked as trademarks and are not given protection under the act.

Abbreviation or Numbers

The other things that can be trademarked are abbreviations and symbols. It is also a very dominant thing that is trademarked throughout the world. Companies often use abbreviations or certain numbers that they feel lucky to be registered as trademarks. BMW, 555, etc are the examples of it.

Symbols/ Logos

Many companies use symbols and logos to register a trademark. These can also be termed trademarkable entities. This ensures their product recognizance and sales in the market. Popular symbols and logos include big brands like Apple, Porsche, etc.       

Taglines

Some companies also get the tagline trademarked to help their marketing campaign. Taglines remain in the minds of the listeners and readers, and the catchy ones stick to the minds, which helps increase the sales of the products. Tagline marketing is done by companies like Nike (Just Do It), Nokia (Connecting People), etc.

Other things that can be Trademarked

A few other things that can be Trademarked but are not profoundly done are –

Sound Mark

Many companies use sound marks through musical notes that are distinctive when marketing their products, and these marks can be termed trademarks. This is the new approach to make your product distinctive and promote in the market. For example, Nokia uses the tune when its phone is getting started.

Scent Mark

It is impossible to register a fragrance of any compound under the trademarks, but particular types of scents can be trademarked by registering their chemical formula in the trademark registration.

Motion Mark

The marks that are designed in a way that they move can also be registered as Trademarks. These are new marketing strategies that are devised to lure more and more clients through attractive holograms and brand marks. A logo of Microsoft is designed in the same way that it looks very attractive.

Shape

The things can be trademarked based on their shapes as well. Shape makes their product distinct, be it of the product or the packaging, but it makes the product distinct in the market and helps in marketing and sales. A bottle of Coca-Cola has registered its shape as a mark that no one can use to sell its product. The rivalry between soft drinks has made it quite a distinctive feature, and the customers now identify the products based on the shape of their packaging.

What cannot be Trademarked?

The things that cannot be trademarked are listed below –

  • A proper name or surname cannot be trademarked if that name is not the cause of revenue generation. If the other person is getting the trademark in the case of names (under specific circumstances), then he/she has to take NOC from the person whose name is being used.
  • General terms and phrases also cannot be trademarked under the act.
  • The symbols used by the government cannot be trademarked.
  • Offensive words, derogatory, targeting other religions, or vulgar words cannot be trademarked under the act.
  • Immoral or scandalous words are also not considered for trademark registration.
  • The marks that are similar to the already registered trademarks are also forbidden by the act from getting registered.

Conclusion

The trademark registration process is a tricky one since the person applying for the trademark has to choose the class in which he/she wants to register the trademark before applying. The individual should know about the things that can be trademarked before applying for its registration. It is highly advisable to take the help of a legal officer before a person gets the trademark registered because it is a highly complex procedure, and if the individual misses any regulations, then the trademark registration will be denied, or it will be objected to by another person or entity. There should be proper research and certainty about which class the particular trademark should be registered. 

Corpbiz can help these trademark filing individuals in doing proper research about the trademarks and which category they would belong to. We will help you determine the things that can be trademarked and complete the process of trademark registration from start to end. We are currently giving these services to many other clients and it won’t be an issue to assist you with the process and compliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can a phrase be Trademarked?

    Yes, a phrase can be trademarked however the words used in that phrase should have a distinctive meaning. When a phrase is up for Trademark registration, the burden of proving it to be distinct lies on the shoulders of the applicant.

  2. Can some other person use my trademark?

    Generally, if the other person uses your trademark it comes under infringement, but if he/she wants to use the trademark they should get the NOC from you and give royalty to you for using the trademark. For example, Dominos outlets are used by various people but they give royalty to the owner of the trademark.

  3. What do I do if someone is using my trademark?

    If someone is using your trademark then in that case you can take legal action against that person. You can get help from a lawyer to send that person a letter for cessation of using the trademark and if that doesn’t deter that person from doing so then you can file a lawsuit against him in the competent court having jurisdiction over the matter.

  4. Can someone’s name be trademarked?

    Yes, the name of any individual can also be protected under trademark under the condition that the person should be earning because of his/her name. A third person can also use his/her name if the person earning through his/her name has given an NOC. A prime example in India is Shahrukh Khan, who has taken trademark protection of his name. 

  5. How long can I protect my registered trademark?

    Initially, when you register a trademark, you get legal protection for a period of 10 years, however, you can renew the registration before the end of the expiry period to protect your trademark for a longer period. The trademark holder can keep on renewing the registered trademark to avoid its infringement.

  6. What can be Trademarked?

    The things that can be trademarked are names, slogans, marks, phrases, musical notes, abbreviations, specific numbers, slogans, logos, taglines, etc. A new invention cannot be trademarked as it needs copyright protection.

  7. Can we Trademark the shape of a product?

    Yes, the things can be trademarked based on their shapes as well. Shape makes their product distinct, be it of the product or the packaging, but it makes the product distinct in the market and helps in marketing and sales. A bottle of Coca-Cola has registered its shape as a mark that no one can use to sell its product. The rivalry between soft drinks has made it quite a distinctive feature, and the customers now identify the products based on the shape of their packaging.

  8. What does ‘R’ beside any logo signify?

    ‘R’ beside any logo signifies that the logo of the brand is trademarked and protected by the Trademark Act 1999. Any infringement may lead to legal complications for the trademark use by another person or entity. 

  9. What is a Trademark?

    A Trademark is generally a mark, logo, name, number, character, phrase, tagline, etc that is used to distinguish one’s brand and products from the other and make its distinct identity in the market.

  10. Can a trademark registered in India be valid all over the world?

    No, a trademark registered in Indian territory is not valid outside of Indian borders. To get the benefit of Trademark protection, the trademark holder should opt for a global Trademark through which his trademark can be protected globally.  

Read Our Article: Why Renew A Trademark In India?

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