Micro, small, and medium enterprises are the future of Indian industry. This article is a step-by-step guide on how you can register a trademark for your medium or small enterprise.
A trademark helps companies establish their brand identity and prevents people from using the identity for their own benefit. Applying for trademark registration is an integral step for all companies to ensure that this doesn’t happen. However, the process of registration may be quite tricky as there are several things business owners need to consider.
To encourage small enterprises and startups, the trademark registration fees for MSMEs has been significantly reduced. MSME trademark registration is a simple and cost-effective process that can be done online. Here’s a look at everything you need to know about trademark registration for MSMEs and the fees for the same.
An MSME registration or Udyog Aadhaar registration is a scheme started by the Indian government to help encourage and facilitate the establishment and growth of small enterprises in India. Therefore, this voluntary registration scheme provides various benefits to small, micro, and medium enterprises in India. One of the benefits is the reduction in fees for the registration of a trademark.
The following business entities can apply under this scheme:
- Manufacturing companies or firms whose total investment is lower than ₹10 crores
- Service sector companies whose total investment is less than ₹5 crores
What Is MSME Trademark Registration?
A trademark is a brand name, symbol, or logo that helps consumers identify your products/services and differentiate them from your competitors. It can be anything from a word, logo, phrase, or colour palette that helps set your business apart. Therefore, trademarks are an integral part of creating a brand identity or image for your company. Likewise, trademark registration is the legal process by which companies secure exclusive ownership rights on their mark. MSME trademark registration is the process by which MSMEs can secure legal protection of their brand name, logo, or symbol in India at half the price of the normal trademark registration.
Eligibility of a Trademark in India
The following items can be registered as trademarks in India:
- Letter, words, or numbers
- Colour combination
- Brand name
- Sound mark
However, any mark that is identical or similar to an already existing trademark will not be accepted by the Trademark Registry. Moreover, the applicant’s mark must also not be identical or similar to trademarks for which a registration application has already been filed. Likewise, individuals and companies cannot apply for trademarks that can deceive, confuse, or trick the general public. Similarly, trademarks that contain the following cannot be registered in India:
- Offensive words or symbols
- Common names
- Geographical names
- Common trade words
- Common abbreviations
How MSME Trademark Registration Helps
MSME trademark registration can help companies in the following ways:
- Obtain exclusive ownerships rights over a symbol or brand name
- Effective marketing strategies are based on having a visually recognisable symbol, such as a trademark
- Protect your brand image from infringement and duplicity
- Grow your brand awareness, visibility, and credibility
- Makes it easier to expand your business either within or outside India
- Helps you protect your hard-earned goodwill and credibility in business
- Makes it easier for your consumers to differentiate your products and services.
Things to Know About Trademark Registration for MSMEs
- An important part of applying for trademark registration as an MSME is understanding which class to apply under. As per the NICE Classification System, there are 45 different classes, of which the first 34 are for products with the rest being for services. Applying under the wrong class or failing to apply under all relevant classes will cost you dearly. Hence, this is why it is advised to get professional help for your trademark registration
- MSME owners must meet with legal experts to ensure they apply for a trademark in the right manner. Since these applications take time and effort, it is imperative that you get all the things right in the first attempt to prevent unnecessary delays
- You should consider applying for a trademark registration quite early in your entrepreneurial journey as the process can take up to 18 months
- Further, trademarks are territorial in nature. Additionally, a trademark obtained in India will only be valid within India and not abroad. If you wish to have a global trademark, you will have to apply for it individually in the countries where you need protection
- Likewise, a registered trademark lasts for 10 years from the date of filing the trademark registration application. Applicants must ensure they renew their trademark within this period to enjoy continued legal protection
- Once you apply for a trademark, you can use the ™ symbol next to the mark as an indication that you have filed such an application. Once the application is approved and you receive a Trademark registration certificate, you can start using the Ⓡ symbol next to your mark
- Trademark infringement is when there is unauthorised use of your trademark by an external person or legal entity. This is punishable by law if you have a registered trademark in India as per the Trademark Act of 1999.
Trademark Registration Fees for MSMEs
As per the amended Trademark Rules of 2017, the trademark fees for MSMEs have been greatly reduced to help small companies secure trademarks. The new trademark registration fees for MSMEs are as follows:
For usual trademark applications:
- Individuals and proprietorship Firms – ₹4,500/- per class per application
- Companies, partnership firms, and LLPs – ₹9,000/- per class per application
- If the company has a Udyog Aadhar/MSME registration — ₹4,500/- per class per application
Documents Required for Trademark Registration of MSMEs
- Address proof and ID proof of the applicant
- Certificate of incorporation or partnership deed
- Address proof of the company
- Copy of trademark or logo
- Udyog registration certificate