When Can a Trademark Application be Rejected?

Last Updated at: Dec 23, 2020
trademark mistakes
The patent and trademark office’s apparent drive to clear its backlog of applications has hit a legal roadblock, with the Tatas and a group of intellectual property attorneys dragging it to court.


Every month, the clients application get rejected for not fulfilling the requirements of Trade Mark Registry. Some of the common reasons are: having the same trademark, having misleading description of the product, containing immoral, scandalous words or pictures, comprising Indian flag or any nation or state or generic words faces rejection.

Of the several 100 trademark requests we get every month, a sizeable percentage would not pass the requirements of the Trade Marks Registry. Many of these clients are willing to risk rejection and insist that their applications be filed anyway, only to receive an objection notice a few months. This ends up being a waste of time.

The correct thing to do is to file only what is likely to be approved, particularly given that the Registrar needs only a flimsy reason to reject your application. So before you apply, do understand the common reasons for rejecting an application:

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1. The same or a similar trademark already exists and approval of the application would likely confuse consumers. You can check which trademarks have been approved here.

2. If the proposed trademark is merely a description (or even a misleading description) of the product or service, it will be rejected. Therefore, Coconut Paste is unlikely to be cleared, in case of a chutney product; Purified Water will not be cleared in case of mineral water.

2. In India, trademarks that contain immoral, deceptive, or scandalous words or images are certain to be rejected.

3. A trademark comprising the Indian flag, or that of any other nation, or any state or municipality, will be rejected.

4. Unless you get permission of the living person, you may not use the person’s name, portrait or signature.

5. The proposed trademark is simply geographically descriptive of the goods or services. Therefore, trying to trademark Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder would face rejection.

6. Generic words cannot be used, nor can adjectives. Therefore, ‘Best’ or ‘Quality’ would face rejection.

The clients have to face rejection and fill the application again. They will get objection notice in few months. This makes clients in wasting their time. The best thing is to do is to file which can be approved, specially satisfy all the Registrar needs. So before applying for the trademark, understand the reasons for the rejection in the application.

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