In the growing economy as a developing nation, India witnesses numerous births of new businesses every single day. This gives rise to a constantly expanding competitiveness in the market. Separate identity and uniqueness are the key features of branding. Brands like ‘Maggie’ and ‘Bata’ not only own a name but became the face of a product genre in the market. This is the power of trademarks. Therefore, getting a trademark is extremely important for every business to not just legalize it but also to stand out in the market and establish a brand value.
In the Indian legal system, trademark registration is no longer a tedious process because of ample amount of trademark agents, lawyers and firms available to assist at the drop of a hat. To acquaint you with the basic process of obtaining trademark in India, we are compiling it and discussing it in detail below. But before that, let’s understand trademark and its essentials.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a brand name or face of any business. It is a visual symbol which gives a distinct identity to any business. It can be in various forms like a signature, word, label, device, numerals or combination of colours used by one undertaking on goods and services or other articles of their business to distinguish them from other similar goods and service providers in the industry. It works as an identity card for any trade.
It is governed and regulated by the Trademarks Act, 1999. The act sets out following legal requirements for the trademark registration:
- Graphical representation of mark shall be possible [i.e. on paper]
- Capable of distinguishing itself from marks of other undertakings
- It should be used or proposed to be used for goods and services and establish connection between goods or services and person using it in the course of trade.
Why Trademark is important?
There are numerous reasons but following are the major reasons which establish its utter importance in the pasture of commerce and trade:
- Provides separate identity/image to goods/services.
- Guarantees unchanged quality [eg. Maggie and bata, as mentioned above]
- Defines goods and services and its origin
- Aids in a discreet advertisement of the goods and services
Types of trademarks that can be registered in India
- Any name (including personal or surname of the applicant or predecessor in business or the signature of the person), which is not unusual for trade to adopt as a mark.
- An invented word or any arbitrary dictionary word or words, not being directly descriptive of the character or quality of the goods/service
- Letters or numerals or any combination thereof
- The right to proprietorship of a trademark may be acquired by either registration under the Act or by use in relation to particular goods or service.
- Devices, including fancy devices or symbols, monograms
- Color combinations, single colors or in combination with a word or device
- Shape of goods or their packaging
- Marks constituting a 3- dimensional sign
- Sound marks when represented in conventional notation or described in words by being graphically represented.
Steps of Trademark registration in India
- Selection of Trademark –Before beginning the process, it is expected from you to select few samples while conducting the search for trademark.
- Trademark search –Before beginning the registration process for obtaining the trademark, a trademark search shall be conducted by the professionals or obtainers in the trademark database. This search provides information about already existing similar trademarks registered with Trademark Registry. This search can be conducted online as well as at trademark office. It is advisable to consult an experienced lawyer as they can conduct a thorough research.
- Application filing –Once the availability of the mark is confirmed through search, the process of application for registration begins.
- For filing new applications there are set forms depending upon the nature of application such as Form TM-1, TM-2, TM-3, TM-8, TM-51, etc. Fees for the same are INR 4000/- [excluding lawyer’s fees].
- Application must contain following items:
2. Trademark owner’s information
3. List of goods and services for which the mark will be used
- Application can be made both online and offline.
- Trademark Examination – After receiving the application, the Registrar will examine the application and its uniqueness. Once the register-ability of the trademark is examined as per the laws, it is set out for objections.
- Objections – In case of any objection raised by the registrar in the application, it is to be then accepted after fulfilment of required terms and conditions, amendments, alterations, limitations, etc. proposed by them.
Term of 3 months is provided to applicant for the rectification by registrar.
- Payment of Cost – Online registration cost in case of individual/small enterprises/start-ups is INR 4500/- and INR 5000/- for offline registration. In all other cases like a business firm/entity, online registration fees is INR 9000/- and for offline registration it is INR 10,000/-. This excludes lawyer/agent’s fees and any other miscellaneous cost (if occurred).
- Publishing in Trademark Journal – Trademark Registrar publishes the trademark in trademark journal for the general public to raise objections [if any] against the application. Such people raising objections can file Trademark objections and the applicant will further attend the hearing about Trademark Objections.
- Trademark Registration Certificate –This is the final and most vital stage of obtaining Trademark Registration. The registrar on the completion of process issues the certificate. If there is any objection which is held valid then no registration is granted and application is rejected. Also, in case if the applicant fails to respond to the objections and oppositions then the application is automatically abandoned by the registrar.
Due to this crucial final stage, it is strongly advisable to consult an expert or hire a lawyer who can cautiously not only deal with the process but also helps in successful completion of it.
In conclusion, it is noteworthy that the process of registration for trademark in India is simplified and easily accessible to give a boost to entrepreneurs and emerging trade and commerce. It has set up a positive atmosphere for economy and commerce to grow significantly in India. Availing it is extremely important for businesses today to earn their fortune.