Overview of Trademark Registration in India
Is it imaginable to you, someone else getting the benefits of your sweat and hard work? A top brand name doesn't develop in one day; instead, it takes years of continuous efforts and sweat. Nevertheless, once you have fortunately marked your brand name in the minds of people, its advantages can be realized by you and your period to come. Thus, it is of utmost concern to protect the uniqueness of your merchandise or service from gaining an ambitious advantage in the market through trademark registration.
What is a Trademark?
Any 'word', 'phrase', 'symbol', and 'design' capable of identifying and characterizing the source of the goods of one party from those of others are known as a trademark. Trademark Act, 1999 permits you to register a trademark/Brand in India. It creates a way for exclusive ownership rights and prohibits all others from its usage and thereby benefitting the owner of the registered mark. In simple words, trademarks are distinctive, unique signs that are used to identify goods or services from a specific company. They can be designs, pictures, symbols or even expressions. It is important because it differentiates your products from the competitions. It can be associated with your brand or product.
Unlike patents, trademark does not have a definite limitation period. Where a patent expires in 20 years, a trademark registration expires after ten years of its record, but unlike patents, a trademark can be renewed again for another ten years. This process can be indefinitely done, meaning as long as you keep repeating the trademark it will not expire and will continue to be under the protection of the Act.
Application for logo registration can be made fast, immediate and online. You can start using a "TM" symbol as soon as the application is made. However, the TM registration process takes up to 15-18 months. It includes various methods for validating original ownership of the mark. Trademark registration in India is going through many innovative changes. Consider this – one can now avail trademark for Unconventional Marks through which even a distinct sound can currently be registered as a trademark in India.
Benefits of Trademark Registration in India
Trademark allows you and a third party to distinguish your commodities and services from those pertaining to your competitor. However, it would be helpful to hold in mind that geographical names, familiar names, fair trade words and common compression cannot be registered as a trademark. Apart from existing unique, a Trademark should be simple to use, make your goods marketable and generate brand recognition for your products.
Trademarks are categorised as IPR and are accordingly protected from invasion. Trademark registration also presents an independent claim to the use of the trademark in accordance to the “Class” of goods or service it offers. Once you have applied and filled the trademark application, the Symbol “TM” can be obtain with your products. In the case of unauthorised use of a registered trademark, you can seek relief for violation in proper and adequate courts in the country.
Trademark will enable differentiation of your product as upon the products of your competitors. Also, since trademark registration will be confirmed for the entire class of goods or services so described, it will help in precisely identifying your products. Customers uniquely distinguish products carrying different trademark, thus forming a customer base for your product.
Customers correlate a product’s appearance, quality, features, and hence on with the company producing such products. They identify the product usually by the logo, which would be a registered trademark. Trademark registration aids brand identification for your goods and services. It also builds goodwill associated with the brand.
Creation of an Asset:
Trademark registration constitutes an asset for a business venture. Trademark is recognised as an indefinite asset for accounting and pay tax purposes. Trademarks are intellectual property and carry a value compared with the products they describe. Trademarks can be sold, franchised, distributed or commercially utilised in any other habit. You can understand the value or cost associated with trademarks in the books of accounts, demand a deduction for depreciation and verify income from the same.
Business Valuation and Goodwill:
Trademarks registered and connected with your products, magnify your overall business assessment, goodwill and net worth in the industry. Your trademark describes your quality assurance, distinct features of your products and your organisation’s purpose.
Trademark registration in India is confirmed for ten years from the date of filing of an application. Still, the trademark can be further renewed. In a case wherever you want to use your trademark outside India or increase your business outside India, you need support or trademark registration in the particular countries. In such cases, your trademark registration and business in India functions as a base to obtain certifications outside India.
A trademark establishes a connection between the customers and the products of an enterprise. With efficient or unique products, you can create a customer base. Your trademark helps you in retaining and expanding the customer base. Trademark Registration of your trademark confers exclusive rights of use for 10 years and protects your business revenues. Business enterprises can leverage the benefits of a customer base by introducing new products and expanding their business.
Requirements for Registering a Trademark
- Details of the brand name, logo, symbol or slogan for which trademark registration is required.
- Date of first use of the trademark.
- Details of the owner of the trademark like name and address. In case trademark is sought on company name than the Name of all the members.
- An authorization form named TM-48.
- Applicable fees for Trademark registration.
- MSME / Start-up Recognition
- Partnership firm, body corporates (other than an individual) can provide a certificate of registration under MSME or Start-up India scheme to avail 50% rebate on the Government fee
How to Register a Trademark - Trademark Registry
The trademark registry was initiated in 1940 then came the 'Trademark Act' which was passed in 1999. As a functioning body, the trademark registry performs all the rules and regulation of the trademark law in India. The Head Office of the trademark registry is in Mumbai, and it has branch offices in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Kolkata. Meanwhile recording a trademark, it is registered under the Trademark Act, 1999 and then the registry of trademarks discloses and registers it. In this process, the registry will check whether the registering mark meets all the conditions of the Act before recording it.
Picking a Trademark:
Mind to choose a unique and notable mark it will represent your company. The other essential point is identifying which class you are fro. Levels 1-34 are for ''goods, and classes classes' 35-45 are for service.
- Click/Mark search:
After choosing your mark, it is not able to express a search to check whether your chosen trademark is alike or similar to any other already registered mark. On the concerned Government website, you can find an option to do a public search. Overall legal services will cost lesser in the matter in which your trademark is objected against.
Filing Application for Trademark:
You can avail two options filing for a trademark.
- File for a trademark categorised for "one class": In this type of cases, you need to fill in form TM-1 with a fee payable of rupees 3,500.
- The other way round is to file for multiple classes or series trademark, or collective trademark. Fill TM-A; this form allows you to register the trademark beyond one class.
- Big Enterprises
You have to pay rupees 9000 for e-filing of from or rupees 10000 if you file the form individually If you are not a small start-up.
- Small Enterprises
You have to pay rupees 4,500 is the charge for e-filing of the form or rupees 5,000 if you file the form physically. If done via online, confirmation of filing will be done immediately, if physically, it may occupy 15-20 days.
Status of Application
You will get allotment Number after getting the confirmation. You can use the TM symbol next to your mark, once you have received your allotment number.
After your application got approved, they will give you Trademark registration certificate (protected and valid in India and does not warrant any international status)
Things you must Know Regarding Trademark Registration
A Visual Representation
The types of brands you can get listed are quite varied.
- Word Marks
- Service Labels
- Logos and Symbols
- Shape of Goods
- Series Brands
- Collective Trademarks
- Certification Mark
- Geographical Indicators
- Pattern Marks
- Sound Scores
- Colour Marks
- Three Dimensional Marks
An Indefinite Asset
A trademark, being a type of IPR, brings heaps of benefits to the company. Once a trademark is registered, it matches an intangible asset that can be traded, franchised, commercially engaged and issued.
The owner of a registered trademark can practice his legal rights in case there is any violation with regard to the owner's logo, brand, a slogan that has an active trademark against it. The owner can sue any third party who tends to use his trademark without the valid consent and permission of the owner of the trademark registration.
The search can be organised through the 'Indian Trademark Registry database' or a 'third-party' service provider online portal.
The goods and assistance here are classified into 45 different sectors (class). Every logo or brand name is to be registered following the appropriate class at the time of application. Out of the 45 different classes, 34 of those classes include product classes, and the remaining 11 are for assistance.
Non Obligatory Trademark Registration
If a trademark is enrolled, it holds strong evidence that the ownership of the trademark refers to the person who has taken the effort to designate it. All legal arrangements will be in support of the party that had the trademark recorded.
A registered trademark has duration of validity that extends up to 10 years ere it has to be renewed repeatedly. However, the renewal process may be inducted only within one year before the expiry of the enrolled trademark.
- Trade Mark (TM) and Service Mark (SM)
This signifies that the trademark has not however been registered, but an appeal for the same is pending. There is no particular legal significance as such because the application has not yet been accepted by the officials.
- R Symbol
This expresses that the trademark is officially listed, that negligence of any kind by a third individual will be punishable by law. It preserves the owner of the trademark in a way that, should anyone rip-off the original product, on suing the third individual for infringement, he has a power to recover all the savings that were lost.
- C Symbol
The C symbol is generally used to purport copyright that the owner ought over some productive work which is valid for a lifetime. Which includes:-
The method, in itself, is quite complex, which is why the applicant obligatorily carries out proper research regarding the same.
Frequently Asked Questions
Under the Madrid Protocol (the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Trademark Registration dated 1891 which entered into force on December 1, 1995, and came into operation on April 1, 1996), an international trademark application may be filed through the trademark office of the applicant.
A few of them are listed out:-
- Common date of renewal for all the trademarks.
- Amendments to the marks will pass through the IB; hence records are maintained facilitating easier audits.
- Costs are comparatively lesser.
Yes, It is allowed to be amended as per the terms of Section 22 of the Trademarks Act, which allows the improvement of the mark presented it does not amount to a substantial variation in the character of the mark as such.
Yes, a registered trademark can be removed on the basis of non use. Except as excused in clause 3 of section 47 of trademarks act, 1999, a trade mark may be removed on the ground of non-use if:
1. That the trade mark was registered without any bona fide intention and was not used till a date three months before the date of the application for removal; or
2. Trademark was not used for a continuous period of five year from the date of trademarkregistration and application was made after three months from the expiry of five years.