As the name prescribes, a trademark is a unique symbol or word(s) that represents the business and its goods/services. The main purpose behind trademark is to allow companies and individuals to indicate their source of goods or services and to differentiate them from other in the industry e.g.: Nike, Just do it. It can be a word, symbol, tagline or a combination of all of these. A trademark is classified as an intellectual property and therefore is protected from infringement. Trademark and its rights are protected by the Trademark Act, 1999. Trademarks may or may not be registered. Using a trademark prevents others from using an individual or company’s product or services without their permission. They also prohibit any marks that have a likelihood of confusion with an existing one. It means that a business cannot use a symbol or a brand name if it looks or sounds similar or has similar meaning to the one which is already registered. Trademarks help the customers to recognize the brand and the brand value in one look such as the logo of a tick sign for Nike or a jumping wildcat for Puma etc.
Trademarks does not have a definite limitation period, a trademark registration expires after 10 years of its registration but can be renewed again for another 10 years. This process can be indefinitely done, meaning as long as you keep renewing the trademark it will not expire and continue to be under the protection of the Act.
Types of Trademark
Several trademarks can be registered as the product mark, service mark, collective mark, certification mark, shape mark , pattern mark etc.
1. Product mark is used on goods or products rather than services. The application that is filed under class 1-34 can be termed as product marks as they represent goods.
2. The service mark is similar to the product mark but used to represent a service. The service distinguishes its proprietor from the owners of the other services. Service mark application can be filed under the class35-45.
Trademark registration process :
Registration of a trademark is done by the registry of the trademarks
1. Trademark Search: The first step is trademark search. The search should be done in both for various combinations of similar mark on the intellectual property website.
2. Application preparation for trademark: In the second step, an application is prepared by the trademark attorney. Form -48 and TM-1 will be prepared for approval and signature of the trademark applicant is attached.
3. Filing of Application: In the third step trademark filing is completed with the trademark registry. The government fees for registering trademark for an individual, startup, small enterprise is INR 4500/-
4. Government Processing: Once the trademark application is filed the government is processing the application, the status of trademark application must be checked periodically. In case of objection, the reply of objection must be submitted within 30 days.
Benefits of Trademark Registration:
1. Exclusive rights
2. Builds trust and goodwill
3. Differentiates Products
4. Recognition to product’s quality
5. Creation of Asset
6. Use of ® symbol
7. Protection against infringement
8. Protection for 10 years at low cost
The documents required for trademark filing are:
1. Logo or Word proposed for registration
2. Pan card
3. Id proof and Address proof of Applicant
4. In case of Body corporate : Certificate of Incorporation and MOA
5. In case of Partnership firm: Partnership deed
6. If Small Enterprise or Startup : MSME & Startup Certificate is required
7. Contact number
8. Email Address
9. Aadhar card
Who can apply for a Trademark?
b. Sole- Proprietor
c. Partnership firm
e. Indian company
f. Trust or Society