What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a recognizable insignia, phrase, word, or symbol that denotes a specific product and legally differentiates it from all other products of its kind. A trademark exclusively identifies a product as belonging to a specific company and recognizes the company's ownership of the brand.
Trade marking, however, does contain some fuzzy boundaries because it prohibits any marks that have a "likelihood of confusion" with an existing one. A business cannot thus use a symbol or brand name if it looks similar, sounds similar, or has a similar meaning to one that's already on the books-especially if the products or services are related.
The trademark can be registered and regulated in India under the Trademark Act 1999.
Why Use a Trademark?
Individuals and companies have products or services trademarked to protect the product from being used without the permission of the source company. Most countries have patent laws that are designed to protect against copyright infringement.
Why should Trademarks to be registered?
Getting trademark registered has a number of business benefits such as:
1. Register your brand to get an exclusive right to it.
2. Protect your brand like other assets and belongings of your company.
3. It will help you to protect your hard earn goodwill in business.
4. You can stop others from promoting the same brand in the same industry of business.
5. It will give you nation-wide protection for your trade.
Requirements for registering a Trademark
1. Details of the brand name, logo, symbol or slogan for which trademark registration is required.
2. Date of first use of the trademark.
3. Details of the owner of the trademark like name and address. In case trademark is sought on company name than the Name of all the members.
4. An authorization form named TM-48.
5. Applicable fees for registration.
The Procedure of Trademark Registration in India
a) Trademark Search
Picking up a brand name that is wacky and quirky is definitely a wise move since most of the generic names would already be in someone's hands. Moreover, zeroing in on a particular name requires a quick research process to ensure yourself that you are not picking a brand name that is already in use. The best part here is that you can invent or coin some words with a mix of generic words to create a unique brand name for yourself.
b) Filing Trademark Application
Once you have selected your perfect brand name you can make an application for trademark registration physically or electronically. For filing the physical application you are required to submit your TM-A form with the prescribed fee of Rs 5000 in case you are individual / Start-up /Small Enterprise, at one of the five offices of the Trade Marks Registry located at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Ahmadabad. After that, you have to wait for at least 15 -20 days to receive the receipt of the acknowledgment
The trademark application can also be easily filed online by paying the prescribed fees of Rs. 4500. Once the application is submitted successfully an official receipt with a TM number will be issued to the applicant.
The following supporting documents together with the application have to be submitted:
1. Business Registration Proof: On the basis of your registered business (for eg: sole proprietorship and so on), an identity proof of the company's directors and an address proof have to be submitted. In case of sole proprietorship business, id proof of the proprietor viz. PAN card, Aadhar card could be submitted. Whereas, in the case of companies, the address proof of the company needs to be submitted.
2. Soft copy of the trademark.
3. The proof of claim (which is applicable) of the proposed mark can be used in another country.
4. Power of attorney to be signed by the applicant.
Examination of the Trademark Application filed
Once you have filed the application for trademark registration; the registrar of the trademark will scrutinize it for determining its accuracy. He will check whether the trademark applied by you complies with the rules and regulations specified in existing laws or not. Moreover, he will ensure that the trademark applied by you is unique and it does not conflict with the interests of any existing trademark holder. If the registrar deems fit he may approve the application and process it for publication in the journal. Whereas if finds any discrepancy in the application he will raise objections to it.
Filing Reply to the Objection Rose
This step is required to be followed by you only if the objection is raised by the trademark registrar on the application filed by you. These objections may be raised on the grounds of section 9 and section 11. In response to the objection raised the applicant is required to file a Trademark reply. Through this reply, he is required to prove that why his brand name is capable of being registered and how is it different from the existing trademark.
Publication of your brand in the Indian Trade Mark Journals
If the registrar is satisfied with the reply filed by the applicant he may process the same for publication in Trademark journal.Trademark journal is released every week containing the details of all the applications made for trademark registration. The trademark will be published in the journal for a total period of 3 months which can be extended by 1 month for inviting the opposition from the public at large. Any third person may oppose the trademark filed if he deems that the registration of the proposed trademark will infringe his rights. After an opposition is received on the trademark filed a hearing is scheduled wherein both the parties are given the opportunity of presenting their part and providing evidence in support of the claims made by them.
The Trademark Registration Certificate issuance
The Registrar will accept your trademark application if there's no opposition being raised within the stipulated period of 90 days. And then Registrar will issue the Registration Certificate with the Trademark Registry seal.
Right from the moment you have been issued with your certificate, you can use the registered trademark symbol (®) beside your brand name.