Trademark is a separate identity mark for a business which basically distinguishes the product of a concerned business house from all other similar or non-similar products in the market. Trademark is a distinctive identity of a business that can be graphically represented and consist of words, symbols, numerals or combination of colour used for distinguishing goods and service of one manufacturer from that of another. Trademarks are popularly known as brand name or logos or trade name and are basically business identifiers. Goods or services are sold in the market under the said trade mark or the trade mark is attached to the said goods or services as a business identifierfor the purpose of distinguishing the said product or services from all other products or services in the market, ensuring the quality and originality of the said product. For example, Vodafone and Airtel have different brand logos which are capable of being identified by an ordinary customer, same goes with the Apple and Microsoft and so on and so forth.
Trade mark indicates source of origin and helps in building a brand name and brand value to which the ordinary consumer associates. The ordinary consumer shall after looking at the trade mark on goods shall identify goods to have inherent quality that some other goods with the said trade mark possess and would be tempted to buy the said goods and thus helping the businesses to grow. Thus, Trademarks have become extremely important as they help in generating goodwill of the business in a competitive market and help in promoting trade. Trademarks hold great value to the business and hence, owing to these qualities, trademarks have emerged as indispensable and intangible intellectual property. Many rights have been attached with the said property i. e. trade marks. These rights exist in India by virtue of common law and by virtue of the Trademarks Act 1999.
If you’re starting a new business or trade, a logo, name or signature is the first thing you choose to separate yourself from the rest. The law of trademark deals with the mechanism of registration, protection of trademark and prevention of fraudulent trademark. The law also provides for the rights acquired by registration of trademark, modes of transfer and assignment of the rights, nature of infringements, penalties for such infringement and remedies available to the owner in case of such infringement.
The registration process in India is a ‘first to file’ basis. Therefore, it is important to apply for registration as soon as possible. A trademark usually takes 2-3 years to get registered, if in case the trademark is not being opposed by a third party. Trademark applications are handled by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Trade Marks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications. Branches for these offices are available in Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Chennai. The application must be filled as per territorial jurisdiction. To register a trademark in India the following steps must be followed:-
1. Trademark Search:
Many entrepreneurs do not comprehend the importance of a trademark search. Having a unique brand name in mind is not good enough reason to avoid a trademark search. Therefore, trademark 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?
2. Filing Trademark Application in India
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 form at the Trademark Office, India. The Indian trademark offices are located at Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata. Nowadays, filing is mostly done online. Once the application is filed, an official receipt is immediately issued for future reference.
3. Trade Mark 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. Although, 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 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.
4. Trade Mark Publication
The step of publication is incorporated in the trademark registration procedure 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 decision are given by the Registrar.
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.
6. Trademark Renewal
The trademark can be renewed perpetually after every 10 years. Hence, your logo or brand name registration can be protected only as long as you renew the registration from time to time.
We, at K & T Law Offices, can help you with the entire process of registration without you worrying about deadlines and responses. It is advised to consult our experienced professionals for the purpose of detailed information on Trade Marks and their registration