Online Registration of Trademark in India
A trademark means a distinctive identification tool capable of being represented graphically and can distinguish the goods and services of a person/company from others. The mark may include a label, ticket, device, heading, name, signature, letter, number, the shape of goods, packaging, or combination of colours, words, or any combination of the above. Logo and name of businesses are commonly registered trademarks. Although it is not compulsory to register a trademark, it is highly recommended as registering the trademark will make it your intellectual property, and your organisation as its proprietor. Trademark is an intangible asset of your business. No one can use your unique mark to market their goods and services without your permission. Trademark protects your investment made in the name, logo, design, etc. of the brand.
In India, trademarks are registered under the Trademark Act, 1999 by the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Indian Government. Having a registered trademark helps you to sue people who use your trademark without your permission. ® at the end of your trademark means that your trademark is registered, and its validity is 10 years from the date of registration. You can start using ™ within 3 days of the trademark application while ® can be used only when the application gets approved and the trademark gets registered. The registration of the trademark can take around 2 years and the same can be re-registered for another 10-years when the time period of registration approaches its expiry date.
What Can be Used as a Trademark?
As stated above, according to the trademark rules of India, anything from a device, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, number, the shape of goods, to the combination of colours, or any combination of the above can be applied for a trademark. The trademark should make your business stand out from the rest.
From individuals, sole proprietors to the entities like companies, LLP’s, NGOs, anyone can apply for the registration of the trademark. However, trademarks should be applied in the name of the entities and not the individuals behind them.
Importance of Trademark Registration in India
It increases the business opportunity as it creates uniqueness in the eyes of the customers, thus, increasing brand loyalty. If your business has a registered trademark, then the consumers automatically start trusting your brand as it gives a sense of reliability and good quality. The unique identity of a trademark helps you to sell more in comparison to other local sellers on online platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, etc.
Having a registered trademark helps you to claim sole proprietorship over its usage. And if you find someone using your trademark, then you can drag that person in court to claim damages.
Registration of a trademark refrains your competitors from using it. The trademark then becomes an intangible asset of the company with a distinctive identity, and it helps in developing brand loyalty.
Assignment or Sale of Trademark
Once your brand reaches heights, then the trademark, like any other asset can be assigned or sold to other parties.
The trademarks registered in India can be registered in foreign countries and vice versa.
Procedure for filing the trademark application
We use a trademark (™) director to search your trademark and make sure that the logo and the brand name that you have chosen are not already registered as a trademark by someone else. The uniqueness of a trademark helps in its registration. In case, there already exists the trademark under someone else’s name, then we help you to modify it to make it unique in order to get it registered.
Trademarks are divided into 45 different classes according to the sectors in which the businesses operate. Trademark Registry divides all the goods and services among these 45 classes. It is important to file the application under the correct class according to your business operations. We, again, help you to find the correct class so that it mitigates the chances of rejection. For example, if you are planning to launch a new toy brand, then you will have to file the application under Class 28.
After the above steps are done, we make you sign the authorization letter by which you give us the representation rights. After obtaining the authorization letter, we become eligible to apply for the trademark registration on your behalf. We keep you posted with the status of your application till the registration gets completed.
Following Documents Are Required During The E-Filing Of The Trademark Registration.
Things to keep in Mind before Trademark e-filing
With everything going digital, it has become very easy to file for a trademark application while sitting at home. However, hiring a registered trademark attorney will help you in filling the online application without going to the registry office or unnecessarily spent time in the process.
The Vienna Codification Process
This is a very important step in the application. When applying for the trademark, Vienna Codification provides you with an international classification which is issued upon the application of the trademark. The status of the application is then denoted by “Sent for Vienna codification.”
Examination of Trademark
After the classification under Vienna Codification, the trademark officer then examines the application. He then either accepts or rejects the application based on his discretion, but according to the set rules and guidelines.
Hearing before the Trademark Officer
Upon rejection, the applicant can ask for a hearing where he can try to convince the officer as to why his application should be accepted. If the applicant succeeds, then the application gets accepted. If the applicant fails, then the application gets rejected. After the rejection, the applicant is left with the last remedy by appealing before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
A Look into the Trademark Symbols
The applicant gets to use this symbol only after his trademark gets registered. ® at the head of the brand name or logo states that the mark is registered under the Trademark Act for 10 years and no one can use it without the permission of the proprietor.
The applicant becomes eligible to use ™ as soon as it files the application for the registration of the trademark. The symbol states that the trademark is unregistered, but the application of its registration is pending before the trademark officer.
‘SM’ Symbol, also known as the Service Mark Symbol, is used by the service industries. Applicants who file the applications under class 35-45 can use this symbol.
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As soon as the applicant files the application, they receive an acknowledgment slip, which gives them the right to use the ™ symbol. Once it is registered, they can use the ® symbol for their brand.
The Trademark Registry classifies goods and services in 45 different classes. The application must mention the perspective trademark’s class/classes and the goods/services it represents. The trademark would be registered as part of those classes only.
If a trademark is similar to an existing application or it can hurt religious sentiments or it contains geographical names or general words then it has a higher chance of rejection.