By trademarking a company name or logo, one makes its services and products distinctive from its competitors. Keep reading for a 5 step guide to trademarking your brand with ease!
Starting or running a business? You might already have a fair idea about how important branding is for your business. Trademarking your brand was once only a concern for big companies, but now it has become a necessity even for most individuals with a business.
In today’s world, if you don’t create and protect a distinctive brand image, you will be lost in the sea of competition. In fact, people will end up confusing your business with others which will cost you dearly.
1. Choose your trademark
Please note that if you already have a name that you want to trademark for your business, you can skip step 1.
You can trademark any of the following: word, phrase, device, symbol or colours. But remember to create a brand name or phrase or logo that is not used by any other business.
Here are the things you should keep in mind while choosing your trademark:
- Keep it short
- Make it memorable
- Ensure that it is unique
- Avoid generic names or terms
If you are having trouble choosing a brand name, remember that there are two types of brand names that work really well.
- Arbitrary or fanciful names that don’t necessarily have a meaning or don’t relate to the product you are selling. For example Twitter, Apple, and McDonald’s.
- Suggestive or descriptive names that hint at what your business or product is about. For example Tata Motors, Pizzahut, and Air India.
2. Know the difference between a colour logo and a B&W logo
Human beings are visual animals. We remember images way better than we remember names or phrases. That is why a logo is very important for a business, it helps people identify a brand in a split second.
So, remember the following when you getting your logo trademarked:
- Once you trademark a coloured logo, the logo along with the colour sequence is protected. Any variations of it, however, are not protected.
- Ensure that the colours are relatable to your business and your audience.
- Your brand image should be built around the colours in your logo.
Not sure if you have found your brand colours yet? No issues.
You can even trademark a black and white logo. This allows you to use different colour patterns in your logo as a black and white trademark only protects the logo pattern. Get this and experiment, all you want until you find your brand colours.
Did you know? Colours can be trademarked separately too! Cadbury has trademarked the royal purple colour that you see on their wrappers. Get in touch with our experts right away for help narrowing down a colour sequence for your brand identity!
3. Check for availability
A wordmark or logo must be available for registration. If a request is previously filed for a related or resembling mark, you will face difficulties and problems in registering your desired logo. So, you should first check the Trademark Registry for availability. You can do so using this free tool.
If you are opting for registration in multiple classes, you should ensure availability in each class.
Here’s a pro tip: If you are looking to trademark both your brand name and logo, you can do it together under a single application. The only condition is that your logo should involve your brand name. This way you save time and money.
4. Pick the right class
After you are done creating your brand name or logo or both, let’s move on to filing for trademark registration.
The first step here is to select a suitable class for trademark protection. The trademark registry has provided 45 classes in total, for different products and services. Based on your company’s activity, choose the most suitable class. If more than one class applies to you, you need to file in those classes as well.
Remember, you can protect a trademark name or logo only under the class(es) it is applied for.
While filing an application you need to describe the goods and services your business offers. Know that you cannot modify the class and description provided in the application after applying. Be liberal in your description and even cover other goods as per your long-term plan. This makes your application cost-efficient and also gives all-around protection.
5. Mention the user date
Do you already have a brand name or logo that you have been using for a while? Great! Make it a point to mention, when you are using it under the ‘user date’ column in the application.
Why? Because in India, preference is given to those who started using the name or logo first rather than following the first-come-first-serve rule of trademark registration. This will help you get your trademark even if a similar trademark has been applied for by a brand new business.
Now that you’ve gotten a fair idea about trademark registration, make a note of these points before you set out to fill your trademark application. If you think it is better to get experts to do it for you instead of risking errors, you can always contact Vakilsearch.
All the best!