What is Trademark:
Trademark is a distinguishable Design, Symbol, Word, or Mark legally registered for representing an Entity or a Product. It not only provides an exclusive right to use the symbol but also enhance goodwill and face value of Owner. A list of examples is as below:
1. BAJAJ of Bajaj Electrical Limited.
2. BISLERI of Acqua Minerals Ltd.
3. HONDA of Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
4. NIVEA of Beiersdorf A.G.
5. AMUL of Kaira District Co-Operative Milk Producers Union Ltd.
Why a Trademark:
It identifies the brand owner for particular product or service rendered by them. Trademarks are a valuable asset to the company which enhances Image and Goodwill of Entity. It enables Customers, Suppliers, & Other People to easily find you. People viewing a trademark immediately know who they are dealing with, the reputation of your business and are less likely to look for alternatives. Your brand could be the critical factor in driving a customer’s purchase decision.
Fundamental Principle behind Registration a Trademark:
The basic function of a trademark is to provide exclusively identity to products or services, so a trademark, properly called, indicates the source or serves as a badge of origin. In other words, trademarks serve to identify a particular business as the source of goods or services. Certain exclusive rights attach to a registered trademark.
Different goods and services have been classified by the International (Nice) Classification of Goods and Services into 45 Trademark Classes/Categories (1 to 34 cover goods, and 35 to 45 cover services). The idea behind this system is to specify and limit the extension of the intellectual property right by determining which goods or services are covered by the mark and to unify classification systems around the world.
How to Register a Trademark:
To register a TM, first, you have to create a design or assemble the words to create a tagline for your product and/or Service. It can be obtained for words, logo, numerals, slogan, and devices in India. Trademark registration provides the legal right of exclusivity for use of the mark to the owner of the trademark.
Trademark registration is a bit long process involving multiple steps. In this blog, we tried to cover all the trademark registration process in India.
STEP-1: Search TM:
Before filing the application for the trademark registration, the person must conduct a search of the trademark database. A trademark search will provide information about identical or similar TM that is already filed with the trademark office. TM search can be conducted by visiting the TM Registrar Website.
Step-2: Application for TM
As soon as trademark search is completed, the application for TM registration can be filed with the Trademark Registrar, if your Design, Line or Logo is Different from already registered marks. The application for registration of a TM must be made in the prescribed manner and the fee for trademark registration. The trademark application can be filed at one of the five Trademark Registrar Office (Chennai, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, and New Delhi) having jurisdiction over the State or online. TM applications can be filed online through Registered Agent or Attorney.
Checklist for TM Application:
Government Fee for Trademark Application:
Step-3: Vienna Codification:
The Vienna Codification is established by the Vienna Agreement (1973), is an international classification of the figurative elements of marks. Once the TM registration application is filed, the TM Registrar will apply the Vienna Classification to the TM. While this work is in progress, the TM application status reflects “Sent for Vienna Codification”.
Step-4: TM Examination
Once Vienna Codification is successfully completed, the trademark registration application will be allotted to a TM Officer in the TM Registrar Office. The TM Officer would then review the TM application for correctness and issue a trademark examination report if any discrepancy is found. The TM Officer has the ability to accept the trademark registration application and allow for TM Journal Publication or object the TM registration application.
If the trademark registration application is objected to by the TM Office, the TM applicant has the right to appear before the Trademark Officer and address the objections. If the TM Officer is satisfied with the justifications of the trademark applicant, the trademark would be allowed for TM Journal Publication. In case the TM Officer is not satisfied with the justifications, the TM applicant has the right to appeal the decision of the Trademark Officer before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
This is the next step after the application is passed by the officer, wherein the proposed TM is published in the TM Journal. The TM journal is published every week. Once the mark is published in the Journal, the public has an opportunity to object to it if they have substantial grounds. The third party has to file the TM opposition within 3 months (extendable by 1 month) from the date of publication of the TM.
If the mark is objected to, a hearing is held by the TM Hearing Officer. In this hearing both the parties are given a fair representation to present their cases. Upon hearing both parties and based on evidence, the hearing officer will give his judgment. An appeal can be made against this decision with the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
If there are no oppositions within 4 months from the date of publication in the Trade Marks Journal, then the registration certificate will be issued.
Time Involved: Usually, it takes at least 1 to 3 Years for the registration, after which the owner can use (R) symbol beside the TM. However, as soon as Online TM Application is made, the applicant can start using the TM symbol.
The validity of Certificate: The Registration is valid for 10 years from the date of application and may then be renewed for a period of 10 years within 6 months of the due date of expiry of the 10 years.