A TrademarkBefore registering any Trademark, it is important to understand what is a Trademark. It is basically a way to represent your product or brand in the form of an image, logo, signature, label, etc. It can be a single word, a name, numerals, device and even combination of colours.
Business owners use trademarks to distinguish their products commercially from other products for similar purposes. Many business owners and entrepreneurs use it to get a unique identity from their competitors.
After legal registration, a trademark becomes an intangible or an intellectual property which helps the owner to represent his/ her brand in terms of investment.
Please note that a trademark can only be registered if it is unique and distinctive for the services you are providing. A copy, existing, same or identical trademarks cannot be registered. Trademark which is offensive, containing emblems, deceptive, etc can also not get registered.
In India, the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of Indiais doing all the registrations of trademarks. These are registered under Trademark Act, 1999 and allows the applicant/ owner to sue for damages for infringements of trademarks, if occurs.
Benefits of Having trademarkTrademark is associated with many benefits and that is the reason why business owners try hard to get their desired trademark registered at the earliest.
- Create Trust among customers- A registered Trademark can be used as a tool to create a goodwill, a sense of quality among customers. It shows that the owner believes and cares in his/ her own products.
- Provide unique identity-As mentioned above, trademarks are registered only when they are found unique. These unique trademarks help to give unique identity to the products they are registered for. No one can use your trademark for their similar products or services.
- Legal security-If the trademark is registered, the owners can take legal actions against any kind of damage occurred. The Trademarks which are not registers cannot provide this facility to their owners. A registered trademark stops your competitors from using your trademark or logo for their similar products.
- Easy to register Trademark globally-If the Trademark is already registered in India, it becomes easier for the owner to register the same globally. The trademark registered in India is used as the basis in such cases. Foreigners are also allowed to register their trademarks in India without any problem if they have registered their Trademark in their own country.
- An intangible Asset-A registered Trademark is an Intellectual property for any business or organization which is just like an asset for the owner. He or she has a right to franchised it, sell it and even make it commercially contracted.
Eligibility for Trademark registration Everyone cannot register a trademark and there are certain eligibility criteria imposed by the registering body to be followed by the applications for their Trademark registration. A person should be a Proprietor, must own a company or business to apply for a trademark registration.
The filing process takes few days and the own can start using "TM" symbol with the trademark after its filing. The complete registration process usually takes 18 to 24 months duration and once registered, the owner can start using ® (Registered symbol) with his/ her trademark. The registration certificate is issued after trademark registration which will be valid for 1 year and the owner need to get it renewed after that.
What are the types of trademarksTrademark can be registered in different forms as mentioned below-
- A trademark can be a name, surname of the applicant, his predecessor related to his business or can be a signature of the person.
- It can be alphabetic, numeric, and alphanumeric of any combination.
- It can be any new invented word, a random word from dictionary, combination of words related or not related to the goods or services it is registered with.
- In rare cases, it can be in an audio format as sound marks.
- In most of the cases, trademarks are in the form of images, monograms, 3 dimensional shapes, symbols, logos, etc.
Required documents for Trademark registration ApplicationFor registering a trademark, the applicant needs following documents-
- A clean and clear copy of trademark to be registered.
- All the details of applicant like name, nationality, address, business details, company name, incorporation details, etc.
- Details of products/Goods or services with which the trademark is to be registered.
- If the Trademark is used by the applicant earlier, the date of its first use in India should be mentioned in the application.
- A signed power of Attorney by applicant is to be enclosed with the application.
Procedure for Trademark registration in India
- Searching for suitable Trademark- To register a Trademark, an applicant needs to search for a suitable Trademark. There are some firms providing this service at the cost of around Rs.500/- and it takes 4-6 hours to search for a unique trademark. They search and check if the desired trademark is already registered with any other firm, goods or services or not. The Agents you have appointed for this search, usually check the same with the Trademark Office and if found unique, you can proceed with its registration further. This search can be conducted online as well as offline and it is better to search in both ways.
- Trademark Application creation- Once it is checked that your trademark is unique, you can draft a trademark application in which you have to provide details like your business name, logo, address, contact details, etc. After submitting the application, you can start using "TM" mark with your trademark. The complete procedure of application creation takes 2-3 days.
- Trademark Registration- This step takes around 18 to 24 months for completion. The government fee is approximately Rs. 4500/- for individuals or a small enterprise (start ups). For all other applications, it is nearly Rs. 9000/-. The fee for a trademark attorney professional is around Rs. 3500/- for each application. The registration office will check your trademark for its uniqueness and if it is already in use by any other company, they will raise a trademark objection. In that case, you will need to start the procedure from first step of searching for a trademark.
If no objection raised by them, then the advertisement will be made in the Trade Marks Journal. Then the registering authority gives 4 months duration to oppose if anyone wants to object against your trademark for any reason. If no complains or oppositions received, your trademark gets registered in next 6 months. Once registered, the applicant will receive a registration certificate with a validity of 10 years.
The Application form for Trademark registration can be downloaded from- "http://www.ipindia.nic.in/writereaddata/Portal/Images/pdf/FORM-TM-A.pdf'.
The online application can be made after payment at "https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/trademarkefiling/user/frmLoginNew.aspx#".
Note:-For more details and reference, please refer the link- "http://www.ipindia.nic.in/form-and-fees-tm.htm".
ConclusionIf you want to grow your business with the trust of customers, register your trademark and make your own brand. You can take help of Trademark registration agents or attorney and they will file the application based on the trademark search they will conduct for you.