Trademark Registration In India - An Overview
A trademark can be defined as the unique identity that makes your company, product, or service stand out from the rest. A registered trademark is your business’s intellectual property/ intangible asset. It protects the investment made into creating trust and loyalty among your customers.
Registration of trademark provides the right to sue against others who try to copy your trademark and prevents others from using a similar trademark to the one registered by you.
What Can You Register As a Trademark?
Many aspects of your brand image can be registered as a trademark. The aspect you need to consider is which aspect of your brand stands out to your customers. Pick that aspect(s) for registering.
a. Product Name: You can register a particular product’s name as a trademark. Apple’s iPod is a product name trademark.
b. Business Name: Registering a company name as a trademark is the most common route businesses take. Ex: Bajaj.
c. Person’s Name/Surname: If your name plays an important part in generating revenue, then you can even trademark your name! Ex: Shah Rukh Khan has trademarked his name.
d. Abbreviations: Abbreviations of a company or brand name can also be a trademark. Ex: BMW.
It is highly recommended to trademark a logo because it visually represents your brand. Your customers can recollect a logo faster than a name. A great example of a logo trademark is the ‘swoosh’ of Nike.
If you have a tagline for your brand, you can go ahead and trademark that as well. A tagline tells your customers what you stand for as a business. For example, KFC’s ‘It's finger lickin' good’.
4. Other Options
a. Colour Mark: You can trademark a colour or a combination of colours. (Ex: Cadbury has trademarked the colour royal blue)
b. Sound Mark: Musical notes or sounds can be trademarked if we can prove that it's distinctive. Nokia has trademarked its tune.
c. Scent Mark: Even scents can be trademarked.
Why Is Trademark Registration Important?
Trademark registration is important and necessary for a business because:
- It showcases your unique identity
- It helps you build trust and loyalty among your customers
- It offers legal protection for your brand’s identity
- It is an asset in itself
- It prevents unauthorized usage of your brand’s identity.
There are 45 trademark classes and all the goods and services are categorized across these classes. You need to be very careful while picking the classes as it will determine the validity of your trademark for your business’ products/services. If your business operates across different goods/services that fall under different classes, you have to ensure that you can apply trademark online under all the applicable classes.
Some of the popular trademark classes in India are:
- Class 9: which includes computer software and electronics,
- Class 25: which includes clothing,
- Class 35: which includes business management and advertising, and
- Class 41: which includes education and entertainment.
If you are operating within these trademark classes, the competition for a trademark might be higher. However, that shouldn’t matter as long as your mark is unique.
How to Register a Trademark With Actolegal
The online trademark registration process is more complicated than it appears. It involves a number of processes and government follow-up. Actolegal has made it easier for you by breaking it down into three parts and doing the majority of the work. Register trademark today to protect your company's logo, slogan, and brand.
Step 1: Trademark Search
Once you give us the basic information about what you want to trademark and the industry you operate in, our experts will do a thorough search across the trademark database. This is to check whether the mark you want to register is available or not.
Once you decide on an available trademark, we move to step 2.
Step 2: Class Selection and Document Collection
The next task is to select the appropriate class(es) for your business. You need not worry too much though. Our experts will guide you in selecting the right classes to cover all aspects of your business. Simultaneously, you can start uploading all the required documents (list given below) for trademark registration in your dashboard.
Step 3: Trademark Application Filing
Once you upload all the documents, our team will proceed to verify them. Then the trademark application form will be filled on your behalf and submitted along with the documents. Our team will ensure that your application is accurate and error-free.
We will keep you updated throughout the process and watch out for any notifications from the Trademark Registry until the registration is complete.
Congratulations! You can now start using the symbol ™ as the application has been submitted!
Step 4: Trademark Objection (in some cases)
Sometimes the examiner might have some questions about your application. This is sent to you as a trademark objection notice and you need to respond to it within 30 days. Our experts can craft a strong objection response and guide you in submitting the right documents and proofs.
Step 5: Trademark Opposition (in some cases)
There is also a chance for a third party to oppose your application. In that case, you have to submit a counter-statement to the Registrar within 2 months stating why the opposition isn’t valid. Based on your response the Registrar may either dismiss the opposition or call for a hearing.
In some cases, the trademark examiner might see certain problems or issues with the registration of your trademark. These issues can be either the filing of an incorrect trademark form, incorrect name/details, the usage of deceptive or offensive terms, insufficient information on goods or services, or the existence of an identical or deceptively similar mark.
When an objection is raised, the status on the register will show as ‘Objected’, following which an expertly drafted response will need to be filed after an analysis of the objection itself and with any supporting documents and proofs. Objection response is your opportunity to strengthen the claim over your mark and create urgency.
If the response is accepted, the application will be processed further for registration and advertisement in the Trademark Journal. If it is not accepted, or if there are additional clarifications sought by the examiner, there could be a trademark hearing scheduled and this will be communicated to you by a notice.
The process typically takes 2-4 months from when the objection is first raised. Once completed, the chances for approval, while not guaranteed, are much higher.
On the other hand, A trademark opposition is a legal proceeding in which one party attempts to put a stop to a trademark application from being granted. A trademark opposition is filed by third parties who feel your trademark could in some way impact them or their own trademark, in writing, in the form of a notice, with the trademark examiner. If the examiner sees any merit to the opposition, they are to forward the notice to the applicant, who is required to send in a counter statement to the Registrar within 2 months.
If the Registrar feels the counter statement addresses the opposition substantially, they may dismiss the opposition. Alternatively, if the registrar feels there is more to be weighed, they may call for a hearing with both parties appearing before them and presenting their cases. After the hearing, the Registrar will rule on the validity of either the application or the opposition. This ruling can be appealed before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board within 3 months of it being made public.
Documents Required for Trademark Registration
Initially, you have to provide us with the following details:
- Applicant’s name
- Business type
- Business objectives
- Brand/logo/slogan name
- Registration address
The documents required are:
- Signed Form-48
- Identification proof of the signatory
- Address proof of the signatory
- Business proof (depends on the type of business)
- Udyog Aadhar/MSME registration certificate (optional)