To register a trademark in India, one has to apply to the registration office of the respective state to initiate the process. The complete process takes about a year meanwhile the application undergoes several stages of examination.
Trademarks are the identity of any business type and relate to the goods or services. It is a sign which distinguishes a business from the other and comes with exclusive rights for the owner. It is a part of the Intellectual Property and is registered under the Trademark Act 1999 in India.
Why do you need a Trademark?
Trademark protects your brand and make it easier for the customers to relate and remember. It builds trust, goodwill and provides an edge over others in the industry.
It usually is a sign, name, logo or a device which is recognized by the symbol ‘TM’ or ‘R’ and provides a brand name to the business. Any business type can apply for a trademark, and the owner possesses the right to use his/her brand name to generate profits commercially.
Once a trademark is registered, no other third party can use a similar or identical mark.
How to register a Trademark?
Trademark Registration is a multi-step procedure which is governed by the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks. A registered trademark has validity for 10 years, and the applicant can use a ‘TM’ mark with his/her brand name from the date of applying.
Here is the complete process in detail –
- Trademark Search
This is the initial step in the process of registration, wherein the proposed trademark is checked for its distinctiveness. Trademark Search allows the applicant to search for similar trademarks.
The data includes registered, applied, opposed and objected trademarks which help the entity to judge for the authenticity of the applied trademark.
- Filing the application
Once you select a trademark, you require applying with the Trademark Registrar. Make sure that you mention the correct class while applying for the trademark.
Trademark Class represents a set of distinct goods and services, and it is necessary to mention the correct class while applying.
- Allotment of tracking number
When the application is filed successfully, an application number is allotted to the applicant by the Trademark Registrar. This number helps you to track the status of the trademark online.
You can use a ‘TM’ mark with the proposed trademark only after you have received the application number.
Note: In case your trademark consists of any figure, design or shape then it will be sent for Vienna Codification as per the Vienna Agreement 1973.
- Reviewing the application
This is an essential stage in the complete application process wherein the examiner considers the application for its correctness. The decision depends on the registrar who can accept, reject or object the application.
Note: If the application is objected or rejected by the examiner then the applicant has to appear in front of the officer and address to the reasons. In case the officer is not satisfied with the response then you can appeal to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
- Publication in Trademark Journal
Once the trademark application is accepted by the Registrar, he/she sends it to publish in the Trademark Journal. In this stage, the proposed trademark is open to opposition by the third party for about 90 days.
In case, no one opposes the mark then the applied mark will be registered.
Note: When any third party opposes a trademark application
a trademark application is opposed by any third party, then both the parties have to appear in the court to justify their reasons on which the Registrar decides his/her final judgment.
- Certificate of Registration
The complete process takes about 18-24 months to complete depending on the time taken during an examination at each step.
Once the registration process is complete, the applicant receives a manuscript and certificate of registration.
After receiving the certificate, the applicant becomes a rightful owner of the trademark and can use the symbol ‘R’ along with it.
Advantages of Trademark Registration
Registering a trademark comes with a lot of benefits which the trademark owner can exercise over the others. Trademark Registration provides an edge in the market and makes the business stand out from the crowd.
Here are few of the advantages of going for trademark registration.
The registration provides individual rights to the owner of the trademark to use the mark solely for his/her profit purposes.
No other entity can use an already registered trademark to sell goods or services commercially.
Under the Trademark Act 1999, if any third party is using or applying for an already registered trademark, then the owner can file a lawsuit to protect the distinctiveness of his/her trademark. The owner can also use civil remedies in case he/she does not want to file a legal case.
Trademark is an asset to the business since it has goodwill attached to it which grows over time. Also, it can be sold, transferred or bought by another person.
Ease for global permits
With the MADRID protocol, it has become easy to apply for a trademark in different territories with one application. One needs to pay the requisite fee in the respective currency.
How to extend your trademark protection?
Trademark Registration has a validity of 10 years after which it needs to be renewed so that your brand name can be protected against any unauthorized use.
In case the owner fails to renew the trademark within the allocated time frame then it is considered as expired.
Since a trademark serves as your business identity, it becomes critical to protect it before it’s too late.
For registering a trademark, all the formalities must be taken into consideration. Now, the registration process can also be initiated online which has reduced the hassle of physical filing and documentation. Filing with the help of a professional attorney saves your time and take considerate action whenever required.