A Trademark distinguishes your products or services from your competition. It can be anything. A sign, an expression or a word; your imagination is the limit here. It deserves utmost importance because it is the thing that market uses to identify your company.
Trademark is considered to be an intellectual property. Trademark Act, 1999 protects trademarks and all related rights from infringement. And to avail this protection, you need to register your trademark. When doing so, you protect your trademark from copyright violations. Your trademark stands protected as long as you renew it within the stipulated timeframe.
Following categories of businesses are eligible to apply for trademark registration:
- Private firms
- Companies- Limited Liability Partnership, OPC, Private limited and Public, Partnership
When it comes to NGOs, the trademark has to be registered in the name of the person or the business involved.
How to trademark your brand name
When trademarking your brand, you safeguard your brand, your goodwill in the market and your ideas. All these are things that you may have invested lots of time, energy and money. The process is definitely time-consuming. But it is far better than remaining an easy victim to unnecessary legal complications from your competitors. You can trademark any of the following things:
- Sound mark
- A particular combination of colors
The registry of trademarks
A registry for trademarks came into existence with the passing of the Trademark Act in 1999. At present, this is the operational body of the Trademark Act. In India, this is the agency entrusted with the implementation of the trademark rules of the country. Its main office is in Mumbai. It has its branches in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Kolkata. When you register your trademark, it falls under the Trademark Act 1999. The agency inspects if the trademark fulfills the requirements for it to be registered. – https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/eregister/eregister.aspx
Registering a trademark
As mentioned above, the trademark registry evaluates your application and does the needful. But you have to complete certain formalities before taking that final decision:
- Practice utmost caution when choosing a trademark
See to it that your trademark is unique. It is the thing that sets you apart from your competition. Know your class and choose a trademark accordingly. You can choose from among the 45 classes of goods and services. Classes 1-34 are for goods and classes 35-45 are for services.
- Check online
The next step is to ensure that your trademark is unique. You may visit the website of the controller general of patents, designs and trademarks. There, you will have the option to perform a public search. Determine your class and search here. You may also get legal help in the matter. The process may cost you a bit. Still, this is generally seen as a safer strategy.
- File the application
You are offered two options here. You may file for a class 1 trademark. Here, you register your trademark only for the class you choose. For this, you will have to fill up the TM-1. You may also apply for multiple classes of trademarks. Here, you should fill up TM-A. This lets you apply for multiple classes of trademarks. The website would have information on fees and other details. Determine the category of your company and apply it accordingly.
|Proof of business registration||Identity proof of your company’s directors and their address proofs|
|Soft copy of your trademark||Proof that the trademark can be used in a foreign country|
|Power of attorney||To be signed by the applicant|
Examining the trademark
Upon submission of the application, an examiner does an in-depth analysis of your application. The agency sends you a report after examining your application. It may take up to 30 days for you to receive the report. It may have absolute or relative objections to certain processes/processes. You will have to file a reply within 30 days of accepting the examination report. You may raise your arguments against any objection given therein in this phase.
The examiner (trademark authority) may opt for a hearing in the following two scenarios:
- If the objections are not met
- If the arguments against the objections raised are not satisfactory enough
Upon completion of the hearing, the examiner may forward the application for publication in the journal. The agency may even reject if the objections are not taken care of.
Advertising the trademark
If the application is accepted, it will be advertised to deal with objections from the general public. Anyone with a grievance can file the same for the trademark published. The person, however, has to do it within four months of publication of the same. The complainant should also make sure that all legal formalities are completed when raising the objection.
Registering the trademark
This is the last step of registering your trademark. If there are no objections after advertising the trademark, the owner receives an auto-generated registration certificate. This is valid for ten years.
Benefits of registering your trademark
Apart from protection from infringement, registering your trademark offers you the following benefits:
- You become the only owner of your trademark
As the rightful owner of your trademark, you gain the power to stop any unauthorized access to it. Registering it is a must to avail the legal protection available for you.
- It helps you build a reputation
A trademark identifies you for the values your company upholds. Customers are sure to notice it. If you rise up to their expectations, you are sure to gain a loyal customer base.
- It helps your product stand apart from others
Your trademark helps customers find you. You may use it to communicate to your potential customers about your unique selling points, your vision and other values.
- You get recognized for excellence of quality
Customers attach the quality of your product to your trademark. And the ones looking for such attributes stick to you as long as you stand behind your promise.
Finally, it reduces the cost of finding new talents. Bright minds look for something different. And if your trademark fulfills that aspiration, hiring becomes a breeze.
Trademark Registration FAQs:
1. How would you define trademark?
2. What is the fee structure for trademark registration in India?
3. Where to apply for the registration of my trademark?
4. How can I know the status of my trademark registration application?
5. How long will it take to register my trademark?
6. Should I wait for my trademark registration to complete to use my trademark symbol in my company’s logo?
7. Can you differentiate between R and TM?
8. Is there any restriction that I should follow when registering a trademark?
9. What is a trademark watch?
10. Is a trademark must in India?
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