Service Mark

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Overview


When it comes to a service mark, it is the same as a trademark. However, a trademark filed for service is known as a service mark. One of the distinguishing factors of a service mark is that it helps in differentiating between one service provider and the other. Apart from this, it helps in building and maintaining respect and goodwill for the business. For trademarking a service, all it takes is a few days to apply for a trademark, after which the ‘™’ symbol can be used for the service, as a service mark. To register a trademark, it takes 18 to 24 months for the trademark registry to complete all formalities and registration certificate is issued. The ® (Registered symbol) can be used on the service along with the service mark. The registered trademark will then be valid for 10 years from filing an application, which can also be renewed indefinitely.

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Benefits of trademarking a service

A business owner, entrepreneur, or industrialist knows the benefits of trademarking a service. They are as follows;


Usage of the service mark

When it comes to service mark registration, the business owner secures exclusive rights over the use of trademark or service mark. For this reason, the owner has the right to utilize the service mark symbol for all the services provided by his/her business, falling under the respective class as submitted in the trademark application. Hence, the business owner has sole right over the trademark, which prevents others from using it as a service mark. And in case it is used, the owner has the privilege to prosecute anyone who does.

Brand Image

A service mark symbol helps build brand reputation, and generate goodwill. This will further help customers identify services accordingly, and form a trust. Thus, enabling a loyal set of customers who will always choose services provided by one particular brand, for regular use.

Distinct services

Concerning competition, a good trademark can help in making a service provider unique and further ensure its promotion as well. The service mark logo will represent the vision or quality of the brand and in turn, help associate the business with it.

Value

Another benefit of service mark registration is that it helps in attaching identity to the value provided by the service. This way, the brand also becomes part of that identity prompting customers to associate the same value and draw in new customers or clients. They will be able to distinguish the quality of the service by its trademark.

Business Asset

A trademark essentially acts as a service mark registration, which automatically makes it an intellectual property for the business. The rights for trademark use can be sold, assigned, franchised or economically contracted. This makes the trademark an asset for the business which gives its association an added benefit.

Service Mark Symbol

A registered trademark can use the symbol on its logo, to communicate that it is part of a registered trademark and no one can use the sm trademark symbol. It is inclusive of its different uses just as rights. If someone replicates the design, logo or symbol then that person can be sued by the business.

Service Mark Protection

By moving forward with a service mark protection, the trademark becomes an exclusive right for the owner of the business, in terms of the usage. Hence, competitors or individuals cannot use the trademark or logo without the endorsement of the business owner. Thug a registered service mark helps in protecting against infringement of logos.

10 Year-Validity

Registered trademarks have a 10-year validity and can be renewed indefinitely. It is cost-effective and enables the business to create and maintain a unique identity.

International service mark Registration

To secure a service mark trademark symbol for a service provider, in foreign countries, the trademark needs to be applied for in that respective company. For this reason, the trademark applied in India can be used as a premise when applying in other countries. This will be used as a base when applying for a trademark in other countries, along with the goodwill earned in India.

Attract Influential Personalities

A good brand will help in attracting talented people or celebrities as brand ambassadors. These people will further enhance the brand image and business.

The advantages of service mark registration are more than the invested amount in registering. Its esteem may not be determined in fiscal terms in the present moment yet the market turnout offered by the enrolled trademark assumes a key role for the business development. Thus, make an application for Trademark Registration on most of the dot before another person registers it.

Checklist Requirements for Service Mark Registration


Service Offerings

For businesses, trademarks should identify what service it offers. A service mark will indicate that the business provides services and therefore aligns with the respective business trademark. Hence, a registered service mark should be able to describe what the business offers.

Distribution

With respect to distribution, a business can choose to sell its services within a state or across several states. Thus, a service mark registration should be executed in accordance. The same rule applies when providing services internationally. Trademark registration should be done in such a way that it cannot be replicated abroad as well.

Website name

It also helps to secure trademarked business names as the website name as well. However, a website’s domain name registration and trademark registration are not executed by the same legal bodies. For instance, if a business’s name is in use as a domain by another entity, the business may approach it for purchase. If the domain name was registered before trademark, the business won’t be able to sue them either.

Proof Use

When it comes to figuring out how to trademark a service name, it is very important to clarify whether the trademark that is being registered is for ‘use in commerce’ or ‘intent to use’. It is on the basis of this that the status of the service mark application will differ. Service marks not in use, or not used for commercial purposes will be marked under ‘intent to use’. And service marks used for commercial use will be filed under ‘use in commerce’. Trademarking service marks that are already in use, will require proof in the form of images of a service mark in use or advertisements or labels, related to your service offerings

Trademark Class of Service

When submitting a service mark application it is important to understand the different classes in the trademark registry. In total, there are about 45 sectors, and each sector is named as a class. Goods and services are classified into 45 different classes by the Trademark Registry. The trademark offers you the right to sell under a particular brand name within a certain sector in the economy.

Legal Assistance

It is always better to seek legal assistance when it comes to the question of how to register a service mark. The reason being, there are several legal hurdles or mistakes one can make if that person is not knowledgeable about the trademark process. For instance, a service mark application can be rejected or can be filed for the wrong class in the Trademark Registry. Bearing all this in mind, it is better to opt for legal counsel when it comes to trademarking a service

The Trademark Registration Process


Step 1: Trademark Search

Even with a distinct brand name in mind, it helps to perform a trademark search to make sure that the name is not taken. The purpose is to avoid infringement issues and trademark litigation. By executing a thorough trademark search, it helps in establishing where a brand or trademark stands, its popularity, and it's worth.

Step 2: Filing A Service Mark Application

Once you have ensured that the brand name chosen by you is not in the Trademark Registry India, you can go ahead and file a service mark application from any of the trademark offices located at Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, or online on the Trademark Registry website. A receipt is issued for future references. The status of the application can then be viewed online.

Step 3: Trademark Examination

After a trademark application is filed, it is examined by the examiner for discrepancies which can take anywhere between 12-18 months. Only upon unconditional acceptance of the examiner does the trademark get published in the Trademark Journal. If the examiner feels there are objections to be raised or conditions required before publications, the examiner will mention conditions or objections in the examination report. The applicant will be given a month’s time to satisfy these conditions, or respond to objections. After which the trademark is published in the Trademark Journal. However, if the response has not been accepted, the applicant can request a hearing, where the applicant can respond and clarify to those objections again, after which the examiner can accept the application and publish the trademark in the Trademark Journal.

Step 4: sm Trademark Symbol For Services

This step takes place during the registration procedure and before the registration process. It is for those who want to object to the registration of the trademark, which has to be done within 3-4 months of the trademark publication in the journal. A hearing is arranged, where the registrar will hear the objection and make the decision to approve or reject the trademark registration. However, if there are no objections to within 3-4 months of the trademark publication in the journal, the trademark proceeds for registration.

Step 5: Registration Certificate

After the trademark is registered, a registration certificate is issued to the applicant, with the Trademark Office seal.

Step 6: Trademark Renewal

A registered trademark has a validity for 10 years, with the option to renew it indefinitely.

Documents required

To file a trademark application, the following documents are required.

  • If the applicant is a person, then documents supporting that person’s name, address and nationality have to be provided. If the applicant is a company, documents supporting the country or state of incorporation with the complete address. If it is a partnership, then documents supporting all partners.
  • The list of services that require trademark registration.
  • Specify if the applicant is an individual, partnership or a company.
  • The softcopy of the trademark to be registered.
  • In case a trademark application was filed earlier in another country, then it can be used to apply here in India by providing details such as (application number, filing date, country, and goods/services). For this purpose, a certified priority document or a notarized copy of the same has to be submitted with the Trade Marks Office, within two months of the filing of the application. If not in English, a notarized English translation is required.
  • In case the trademark has already been in use, then proof of the same has to be provided along with the date. An affidavit testifying to its use has to be filed along with the application. No the term ‘use’ can vary from, appearing in advertisements, marks on invoice, letterheads, etc.
  • An authorization document signed by the authorized signatory or the applicant, with the name and designation mentioned on it.

Frequently asked questions

A service mark may be a word or a combination of words, letters, and numerals. It may also consist of drawings, symbols, 3D signs such as a shape or colors, and used as a distinguishing feature.
The easiest way to get a service mark registered is to simply select a name then trademark search it. If the name has not been taken by another business entity, register a service mark application. Then provide the required documents, including the name of the service mark or address. It is then published in the Indian Trade Mark Journal and the application is reviewed Finally, the issuance of the trademark registration certificate.
A registered trademark has a validity for 10 years, with the option to renew it indefinitely.

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