Trademark Registration Online-An Overview
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is an intellectual property which consists of a recognizable logo, word, design to identify goods and services and differentiate your product or services from the other brand. Although a trademark owner can be a proprietor or a business organization or any legal entity. It divides the product and services in different classes.
Why We Need A Trademark?
To differentiate among brands because there are several products introduced by the competitors in the market.
We need a trademark mostly so that no one can enjoy our brand image or reputation because it causes losses to the existing business.
You can register the trademark under the act named, The Trademark Act, 1999. The registration provides the right to sue against others who try to copy your trademark. Also, no one else can use a similar trademark to the one registered by another person. Once you register a trademark, you can use an R symbol along with it, and it will be valid till 10 years from the date of registration.
Trademark licences may be granted as adjuncts to, or separately from, patent and know-how licences. Among the provisions particular to most trademark licences are the following: Permission to use. The grant of permission to use the relevant mark or marks is the first-stated provision of most licence agreements. The particulars of the mark or marks are usually listed in a schedule to the licence agreement, together with the products in respect of which the mark is to be used.
Number of licensees. It will be important for the licensee to know how many other licensees will be appointed to service the licence territory. It will also be important to ascertain whether the licensor intends to distribute within the territory. Finally, it will be important to a licensee where others are to be appointed to ensure that its rivals are appointed on comparable terms.
But, to administer GST in a country like India, a model had to be designed involving both Centre and States in its implementation. This is because India is a federal country. Here, both Centre and States have powers to levy and collect taxes through their respective legislations.
Quality control. As mentioned above, at the heart of any registered user agreement is a provision that the licensee will not use the marks on products that do not attain the standard of quality prescribed by the licensor. Quality control provisions will provide that the user receives, on a confidential basis, all specifications, technical data and know-how of the licensor to allow the prescribed quality standards to be met. Policing of this clause will usually require the user to send sample products to the licensor and to permit inspections of the user's factory and warehouses, and of methods of production, materials used, storage and packing of finished products. The agreement should permit the user to dispose of products that do not meet the quality standard, provided they do not carry the trademark.
Marketing. The licence will designate the territory in which the trademark may be used. This will usually contain prohibitions against trading outside the designated territory as well as provisions keeping the licensor out of the licence territory. Advertising material employed by the licensee may have to receive the licensor's approval.
Financial arrangements. In addition to requiring a fee or royalties for permission to use the trademarks, a licensor may also require payment in respect of the provision of skilled persons to instruct employees of the licensee in the materials required to achieve the prescribed quality standards required in the agreement. Arrangements also have to be made to allocate the cost of the sampling procedure. Finally, the licensee is usually required to keep detailed books and records of sales of the trademarked products.
Infringements. The licensee is normally required to report to the licensor all particulars of infringements that occur, and the licensor usually has conduct of all infringement proceedings.
Trademark Registration Process:
Investing your time and money to build a particular brand and seeing the same brand name being used by another, robbing you of your hard-earned brand reputation is not an agreeable state of affairs. Many a time, trademark (TM) owners end up in protracted litigation because when the time was right, they did not do trademark registration in India of their brand name. Trademark registration process of the brand name is not a difficult task. A few simple steps, as explained below and you would have the much-needed legal protection of your brand name registration in India.
Step 1: Trademark Search
Many entrepreneurs do not comprehend the importance of a TM search. Having a unique brand name in mind is not a good enough reason to avoid a TM search. TM search helps you to know if there are similar trademarks available and it gives you a fair picture of where your trademark stands, sometimes, it also gives you a forewarning of the possibility of trademark litigation. Why waste your money in time-consuming trademark litigation later when you can choose to avoid it in the first place?
Step 2: Filing Trademark Application
After you are sure that your chosen brand name or logo is not listed in the Trademark Registry India, you can opt for registering the same. The first step is to file a trademark application at the Trademark Registry India. Nowadays, filing is mostly done online. Once the application is filed, an official receipt is immediately issued for future reference.
Step 3: Examination
After a trademark application is filed, it is examined by the examiner for any discrepancies. The examination might take around 12-18 months. The examiner might accept the trademark absolutely, conditionally or object.
If accepted unconditionally, the trademark gets published in the Trademark Journal. If not accepted unconditionally, the conditions to be fulfilled or the objections would be mentioned in the examination report and a month's time would be given to fulfill the conditions or response to the objections.
Once such a response is accepted, the trademark is published in the Trademark Journal. If the response is not accepted, one can request a hearing. If in the hearing, the examiner feels that the trademark should be allowed registration, it proceeds for publication in the Trademark Journal
Step 4: Publication
The step of publication is incorporated in the trademark registration process so that anyone who objects to the registering of the trademark has the opportunity to oppose the same. If, after 3-4 months from publication there is no opposition, the trademark proceeds for registration. In case there is opposition; there is a fair hearing and decisions are given by the Registrar.
Step 5: Registration Certificate
Once the application proceeds for trademark registration, following publication in Trademark Journal, a registration certificate under the seal of the Trademark Office is issued.
Step 6: Renewal
The trademark can be renewed perpetually after every 10 years. Hence, your logo or brand name registration can be protected perpetually.
deadlines and responses. Hence, understand the power of your brand name registration and take steps in protecting it today.
To learn more how to register a trademark in India, you may visit our trademark services.
Trademark symbols and their usages
Once a trademark is registered, then the applicant can start using the ® symbol to signify that the trademark is registered and protected from infringement under the Trademark laws.
The ™ symbol is for unregistered trademarks for which the application has been filed. The TM symbol is thus used to indicate that a trademark application exists with respect to the trademark.
The ‘SM’ or Service Mark symbol is used for the service industry, specifically for service mark applications The SM symbol is used for applications that are filed under class 35-45.
- Proprietorship Firm
- Aadhar card
- Pan card
- Email id
- Contact number
- Passport size photo
- Brand logo/word
- Firm name
- Business activity
- Aadhar card (Authorized director)
- Pan Card (Authorized director)
- Email id (Authorized director)
- Contact number (Authorized director)
- Incorporation Certificate
- MSME Certificate
- Brand logo/word
What is a trademark class?
The Trademark Registry has classified goods and services under 45 classes. Your application must mention the trademark class/classes the goods/services represent. The trademark would be registered under those classes only.
What trademark applications are commonly rejected?
If your trademark is similar to an existing application, would hurt religious sentiments, contains geographical names or common words. It would also be rejected if it is likely to cause confusion. So you can't register the word 'car' for a car brand, but may do so for a brand of electronics.
When can I use the ™ symbol?
As soon as you file the application, you receive an acknowledgement, which gives you the right to use the ™ symbol. Once it's registered, you can use the ® symbol.
How can I run a trademark search?
Before settling on a brand name, you need to check if it can acquire the legal rights necessary to hold on it. This is because the commercial rights to a brand name belong to the owner of its trademark. To find out if yours has already been taken, you can run a trademark search, which is basically a database search of India’s Intellectual Property Database. Now, running the search is easy. Begin by selecting the wordmark and typing in the word/s you want to register. The results will tell you whether there already is another registration in that name.
If there is one, check its status. If it is either approved, applied, objected or opposed, it makes sense to pick another name. Do also check for phonetic similarities with other registered names. To do this, you need to select the dropdown at the top of the page. While the phonetic search isn’t very accurate, you can say with certainty that your trademark will be approved if there aren’t any relevant matches here either.
What if my trademark is taken, but under a different class?
If your brand name has already been registered, but under a different class, you're still in luck. Unless the brand is too well known (McDonald’s or Fiat, let’s say), your application is likely to be approved. If, on the other hand, a trademark has been registered by another brand after you began using it, you should take the matter seriously. Find out the origin of the goods and send the office a cease-and-desist letter. Although it does not apply exclusively to intellectual property, such a letter is usually sent in cases of infringement. If the party does not cease and desist from selling the goods with your trademark within the time mentioned in the letter, you may take them to court.
What if someone has a similar word trademarked?
You can't get the word, but all is not lost. You could instead design a unique logo for your business and include the name in it. Take BMW as an example. The BMW is within the logo. A prefix would also be permissible. This is known as a logo composite mark. So there is a way out, but it is best to have a unique name.
Should I file the trademark in my own name?
Many start-up founders register it in their own names, while large businesses would prefer to do so in the name of the company. This is because the future of a start-up is always in doubt. If owned by the founder, the trademark would be valid regardless of the state of the company. A trademark license agreement is, however, needed in this case.
Do you guarantee approval of my trademark?
It depends entirely on the government's judgement. But if it is unique, it is highly likely that it will be granted.
What are the different kinds of trademarks I can have?
Trademarks and copyrights are both intellectual property, but serve different purposes. A copyright applies to literary and audio-visual (music, photographs, movies) works. So it’s an exclusive right granted to the creator or author of a book, script, software, music, photograph or movie. The owner has the right to stop the publication of any work that shares similarities with his/her work, unless it has been fairly used. Registration is not necessary. However, as copyright infringement has become commonplace in the Internet age, and you need a registration to take the matter to court, copyright registration has gained importance.
A patent is a right granted for a product or process to an individual or enterprise. This right grants its owner the ability to exclude others from making, using, selling or importing the patented product or process without prior approval. In exchange for this right, the applicant must fully disclose the invention. A patent is valid for 20 years, after which it falls into the public domain