Here’s a quick lesson in everything you need to know about trademark registration
Trademark registration makes your business stand out in the industry and builds up a reputation and identity. A trademark can be just a logo or a combination of words, numbers, colours, etc. Every trademark registration is under the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. The tenure for trademark registration is 10 years, and one can renew it for the next session of 10 years when the expiry date is nearing.
Registration of trademark under the Trademark Act, 1999 ensures that any exploitation of the trademark can be combated with legal actions. Trademark registration has the consideration to be the intellectual property of the owner, and the owner can use it to safeguard the investment into the business. It is essential to register the trademark, especially if the product or service is unique in the line of business. The trademark registration process in India has been discussed below.
What Is the Procedure Involved in Trademark Registration?
Any individual, company, proprietor, or legal entity claiming to be the owner of the trademark can apply for trademark registration. Moreover, it usually requires 18-24 months to complete the registration of the trademark. The trademark registration process involves the following steps.
Step 1: Conduct a Trademark search
A trademark should be unique and not a copy of any other existing trademark. It should not be offensive or contain specifically protected emblems. After you have decided on the trademark, conduct a search using the Trademark (™) Director to check if the trademark is already taken or not. In case it is already taken, you have to modify it again. Once it has a unique recognition, you can proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Submit an application
Prepare a trademark application along with the required documents. One can opt for ‘manual filing’ or ‘e-filing’ of the trademark application. In case of manual filing, you should hand over the trademark application manually to the nearest Registrar Office of Trademarks. It generally takes 15 -20 days from the date of filing to receive the receipt of the acknowledgement. In the case of ‘e-filing’, one can submit an online application through their official online portal. It generally takes a few hours to receive the receipt of the acknowledgement. This receipt of acknowledgement enables the company to use the trademark with a ™ sign beside it.
Step 3: Examination of the application
The examiner will examine the application for any disparity after filing the trademark application. It takes around 12-18 months to examine the application. It is up to the examiner whether the trademark application can accept absolutely or conditionally.
If it can accept unconditionally, the trademarks will get published in the Trademark Journal. If it is not acceptable unconditionally, the objections will be mentioned in the examination report. A time of one month will be given to fulfill the terms given.
Step 4: Publication of Trademark
The step of publication of the trademark has incorporation in the registration procedure so that any person who objects to the registering of the trademark has the opportunity to oppose the same. The trademark Journal has the publication every week. After the trademark publication, the public has the right to object to it if they have substantial grounds. The third party has to file a trademark opposition within three months from the date of publication of the trademark. In case there is opposition, the Registrar gives a fair hearing and decision.
Step 5: Registration Certificate
If, after three or four months from the publication, there is no opposition, it signifies that the trademark proceeds for the registration. After the application is in process with the trademark registration, along with the publication in the Trademark Journal, you will get a registration certificate under the seal of the Trademark office.
Who Can Apply for a Trademark?
In context to the trademark rules and regulations, things like logo, words, phrases, images, initials, symbols or, a mixture of all these can be registered. A trademark application can include:
- Private firms
- Companies (Limited Liability Partnership, OPC Private Limited, Partnership, etc.)
Only applying for trademark registration would not work for the long term. The validity of a trademark is up to ten years. After ten years, one needs to file for the renewal of the trademark. You must renew your trademark before its expiration. The application for the renewal must be submitted before the deadline to get seamless protection of the trademark without any chance of litigation.
What are the significant advantages of trademark registration?
1. Legal Protection
The owner with a registered trademark has the legal right in case of any violation. It means that if you doubt that your trademark is copied by anyone else, you may sue them for imitating your brand name, logo, or slogan.
2. Create an Intangible Asset
Initially, a trademark can be a valuable asset if your brand succeeds and builds a good name. Trademark registration makes it an intangible asset that can distribute, trade, franchise, or have a commercial contract. Additionally, this is beneficial to the company and the proprietor.
3. Get Exclusive Rights
The owner of a registered trademark would be able to have exclusive rights over the trademark. Additionally, the same trademark process is for all the products that fall under the same class by the owner. However, having proprietary rights on the services and products also permits the proprietor to stop any kind of illegal use of the trademarked thing.
4. Applying a Registered Symbol
The proprietor or the company can use the registered symbol once the trademark has been filed. The logo will be evidence of the fact of the trademark registration and cannot be used by another person or company. In case of infringement, the holder of the trademark can decide to sue the other person.
5. Promotes Goods and Services
Registration of a trademark constitutes the face of a company or the goods and services. Similarly, This serves to differentiate and promote the creation of a brand. Meanwhile, most of the companies get their identity by trademark. So, a trademark plays a vital role in promoting and helps in enhancing the brand value.
Nowadays, with the advancement of technologies, the trademark registration process can be quickly done online. In conclusion, one can get the help of a registered trademark attorney to register online without even having to visit the registry office.