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Trademark Registration

In todays business world trademarks occupy a very prominent role. It is the only means of differentiating your product from your competitors product. Trademarks earn goodwill based on the quality of the product manufactured under it. Thus trademark could become your most valuable asset as it attracts customers to you due to the goodwill earned by the trademark.

For the registration of trademark application has to be made before the Registrar of Trade Marks. Initially the application is examined by the Registrar and if he finds it satisfactory it is advertised in the Trade Marks Journal. After advertisement, any person who has an objection to such application can file an objection within four months based on which hearings are fixed. In the event of the appeal being decided in our favor, the registration is granted. If no such opposition is filed following the advertisement then also the registration is granted.

Old units which have been running since a long time should get their trademark or brand name registered because when a manufacturer manufactures certain goods under a brand name, it earns goodwill over a period of time which should be registered to prevent someone else from taking advantage of the same.

If someone else gets a trademark registered which is identical or similar to yours and starts a business using the same trademark, you cannot stop him from doing so because he has got a legal right to use the trademark due to the registration. Therefore it would be in your own interest to get your trademark or brand name registered before someone else does.

The Trade Marks (Amendment) Act 2010 and the Trade Marks (Amendment) Rules, 2013 came in to force with effect from July 08, 2013.

This marks the official entry of India to the International Filing System under the Madrid Protocol. Thus Indian applicants can now file a single application for registration of trademark in all or any of the member countries of the Madrid Protocol thereby simplifying the process to avail protection in different countries.

Technically, the amendments are directed to bring the Indian Trademarks Law in line with the Madrid system.

Accepting these changes brings India a lot closer to the standards followed at an International level. The new rules are also a step forward in avoiding conflicts arising due to different Trademark laws in different countries especially in the case of applicants who maintain a global presence.

Going through the possibilities mentioned above it would be advisable to get your trademark or brand name registered before someone else does. It would be in the interest of your own business to do so.

Trademark FAQ

What is a trademark?

A trademark is any word, symbol, color, smell or any combination thereof which is capable of distinguishing between the products of two different entities. A Trademark is basically a mark which signifies the source of the product as originating from a particular entity.

What kinds of trademarks can be registered?

The possibilities are almost limitless. Trademarks may be one or a combination of words, letters, and numerals. They may consist of drawings, symbols, three- dimensional signs such as the shape and packaging of goods, audible signs such as music or vocal sounds, fragrances, or colors used as distinguishing features.

What is the difference between a Trademark, Logo and Brand Name?

Trademark is an extensive term which includes Logos and Brand names. Logos are specific and special designs which are applied by business men on their products. Brand Names are exactly what the name suggests, just names with no decorations or any sort. A logo as well as a brand name are capable of being registered separately.

What is the importance of a trademark?

  • It identifies the origin of the goods or service and correlates the same to a particular manufacturer or trader or service provider
  • It is a very important tool for marketing and advertising in today's media influenced scenario.
  • It assures the ultimate consumers of the quality of the product that they intend to buy.
  • A good trademark is equivalent to good quality.

What are the benefits of registering a trademark?

  • Registering a trademark enables you to get protection under the Trademarks Act, 1999.
  • Registration of the trademark enables the owner of the trademark to market his goods or services openly without any fear of litigations which may result in his losing the name for which he has worked so hard.
  • Registration of Trademark prevents loss of goodwill to competitors.
  • In case of litigations in Court, registration is a very strong evidence which could be a decisive factor in the case.
  • It is very beneficial for any size of business unit in the long run. It is not expenditure. It is an investment.

How to select/create a trademark?

  • The trademark should appeal to the eye and the mind of the customer.
  • It should preferably be as short as possible.
  • Avoid generic/common words. Eg. water, honest, sun, pearl etc.
  • It should be easily pronounceable.
  • The trademark should be such that it can be easily remembered.

What can be registered as a trademark?

As discussed above, a trademark could be anything which distinguishes the products from two different sources. The list of registerable trademarks include the following :-

  • Trade name : The name of your business.
  • Logo : Any design or artistic work, which is visually definable, which is applied on the packaging or the goods. Logo may or may not include the brand name of the product.
  • Brand name : The brand name of the product can be registered separately. If the brand name of the product is a part of the logo, it is still advisable to get the brand name registered separately for better and proper protection. It is not compulsory though.
  • Tag Line : There is a trend in today's marketing strategies to include taglines to attract customers. It is especially true in FMCG products although not necessarily so. Your tag lines can also be registered as your trademark.
  • Scent : Sometimes it so happens that a particular smell is associated with your product. According to the provisions of the Trademark Act, 1999, even a scent can be registered as your trademark.
  • Color/color scheme : Any color or combination of colors can be a trademark. However, it is extremely improbable that you would get exclusive rights for the use of a particular color.
  • Sound : There are certain sounds which are associated with products for eg. certain music which is played in advertisements of different products. Even such sounds can be subject matter of a trademark application.

Is trademark registration an expensive procedure?

No. Trademark registration is not at all an expensive procedure.

Who can get their trademarks registered?

Anybody can apply for the registration of their trademark. New businesses which are being set up, old businesses which have still not got their trademark registered, small scale businesses, medium sized businesses and large size businesses. People believe that only large sized businesses need to get their trademarks registered. That is a myth. In fact, smaller sized businesses should be the most active in getting their trademark registered. As soon as a business grows, there shall be people who wish to cash in on its goodwill. There are a number of instances wherein someone else starts a business with the same name or gets the trademark registered before you thereby depriving you of the rightful goodwill of your trademark. In such scenarios, you are left with no choice but to either stop using that trademark or approaching the Court for justice. Court proceedings are highly expensive and take too much time.

How much time is needed to get a trademark registered?

The normal time taken for a trademark to be registered in India is anything from 18 to 24 months. This time shall however vary depending on the facts and complexities of the application.

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