What is Trademark?
As the name suggests trademark is Mark of a Trade i.e. Identity of a trade that can be a symbol, phrase, logo or insignia which legally differentiate that trade from the others. Trademark generally considered as a form of asset for the entity i.e. intangible asset. In simple context, it is a recognition of the brand of the trade.
Why Trademark registration is required?
Devoting your hard earned money and valuable time to build a particular brand and seeing the same brand name being used by another person is not acceptable state of affairs. At last, you end up prolonged litigation because when the time was right, you did not registered your trademark.
Trademark is a unique identity mark that needs to be registered with the concerned Government authority, which makes it a legal and unique recognition. Trademark protects the object or entity from being used by anyone else without the permission of source entity. It keeps the brand identity safe from unauthorized usage.
Trademark Registration in India
Trademark registration process of the brand name is not a tough job. A few simple steps, and you would have the legal protection of your brand name registration in India.
In India the Trademarks are registered by the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
Steps of Trademark Registration are stated below:
1. Trademark Search: Trademark search means to know if there are similar trademarks available in Trademark database that are already registered. It gives you a fair picture of where your trademark stands. This step should be followed before any other step to avoid any future consequences of duplicity.
2. Trademark Application Filling: After being sure that chosen brand name or logo is not listed in the Trademark Registry India, you can opt for registering the same. The first step is to file a trademark application form at the Trademark Office, India.
Very briefly, an application for registration of trademarks is received at the Head office or a branch office of the Trade Marks Registry within whose territorial limits the Principal place of the business of the applicant is situated. The Indian trademark offices are located at Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. Nowadays, filing is mostly done online. Once the application is filed, an official receipt is immediately issued for future reference. Further, you can see the trademark status of your application immediately online.
3. Application Examination: The digitization and formality checking of the application is done at the respective offices. The Application is then examined mainly as to whether the relevant mark is capable of distinguishing applicant’s good or services, whether it is prohibited for registration under any law for the time being in force, whether the registration of the relevant mark is likely to cause confusion or deception because of earlier identical or similar marks existing on records. The Examination of all applications is done centrally in the Head Office of the TRADE MARKS Registry at Mumbai.
The examination might take around 12-18 months. The examiner might accept the trademark absolutely, conditionally or object.
If accepted unconditionally, the trademark gets published in the Trademark Journal. If not accepted unconditionally, the conditions to be fulfilled or the objections would be mentioned in the examination report and a month’s time would be given to fulfill the conditions or response to the objections.
Once such response is accepted, the trademark is published in the Trademark Journal. If the response is not accepted, one can request a hearing. If in the hearing, the examiner feels that the trademark should be allowed registration, it proceeds for publication in the Trademark Journal.
4. Publication: The registrar after accepting the application publishes the same in the Trade Marks Journal, an official gazette of the Trade Marks Registry, which is hosted weekly on official website. The step of publication is incorporated in the trademark registration procedure so that anyone who objects to the registering of the trademark has the opportunity to oppose the same. If, after 3-4 months from publication there is no opposition, the trademark proceeds for registration. In case there is opposition; there is a fair hearing and decision are given by the Registrar.
5. Certificate: Once the application proceeds for trademark registration, following publication in Trademark Journal, a registration certificate under the seal of the Trademark Office is issued.
§ Rejection of application: The trademark application might be rejected when it contains any material which is offensive, generic, deceptive, not distinctive, or if it contains any specially protected emblems etc.
§ The trademark can be renewed perpetually after every 10 years. Hence, your logo or brand name registration can be protected perpetually.
§ Under opposition proceeding, a copy of the notice of opposition is served to the applicant who is required to file a counter-statement within two months failing which the application is treated as abandoned. The copy of the a counter-statement is served to the opponent, who leads evidence in support of his case by way of affidavit, then the applicant leads evidence. After that the opponent files evidence by way of rebuttal. On completion of evidence, the matter is set down for a hearing and the case is decided by a Hearing officer. The registrar’s decision is appealable to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.