Trademark - Protection for your brand
It is usually best practice to apply for trademark registration soon after the commencement of business.
In today’s competitive business environment, every business aspires to stand out from its competitors and make a niche from its product or service. Branding plays an important role in fulfilling this aspiration by creating a certain image or idea in the minds of people.
In an industrialized society, the same product is manufactured or services rendered by multiple sellers or service providers.
It is the brand of an organization that distinguishes a product or service of one seller from the other. A brand can be a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature used for bringing such difference.
It takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to build any brand in the market but the same can be easily copied by others and made misuse of.
This is where the protection of the trademark comes into play.
Importance of Trademark
A Trademark is a legal protection provided to a business ensuring exclusive use of the brand by its registered owner or by a licensee in return for a payment. This protection can be obtained at the regional, national, and international level by registering one’s trademark with appropriate trademark registering authority.
Such registration provides legal protection and reinforces one’s position as the rightful holder of a brand in case of litigation. Once registered, a trademark becomes Intellectual Property of the person in whose name the same is registered.
In India, trademark registration and related aspects are being dealt with by the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademarks and all the provisions related thereto are contained in Trademarks Act, 1999, and its rules and regulations. The legal requirements to register a trademark under the Act are:
- The proposed mark should be capable of being represented in graphical form.
- It should be used or proposed to be used to mark in relation to some goods or services in the course of trade.
- It should be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one business entity from those of others.
In India, various types of trademarks can be registered as follows:
- Any name which is not unusual for trade to adopt as a mark.
- Letters or numerals or any combination thereof.
- Devices, including fancy devices or symbols
- Any arbitrary dictionary word or words or any invented word which does not directly describe the character or quality of the goods or service.
- Any sound marks represented in any conventional notation or described in words by being represented graphically.
- Any mark having a 3D sign.
- Any combination of color or colors in combination with a word or device
- Shape of goods or their packaging
Depending upon the nature of the application for trademark registration, various forms (Form TM-1, TM-2, TM-3, TM-8, etc.) are made available by trademark authority. The whole process can be undertaken on the e-filing portal of the trademark registry by any person claiming to be the proprietor of a trademark used or proposed to be used. The application should be in English or Hindi.
The Trademark Registry has classified all goods and services under 45 classes and trademark are registered only under applied classes. The application must mention the trademark class or classes which represent the goods or services. This means that trademark protection is available to class wise.
In case one trademark is registered under a particular class but not under other relevant class, someone else can have it registered under that class.
After the application is successfully filled, the proposed owner of the trademark can start using a symbol (TM). This is because legal protection starts from the time of application filing. Once registered, the trademark owner can use the symbol (R) to indicate trademark protection which remains valid for a period of ten years post which an application for renewal can be filed.
Following documents are required for filing an application for trademark registration:
- Identity proof of proposed owner which can be Aadhar card, driving license, passport, ration card or voter’s id.
- If a trademark application is made for a tagline with only words there is no need of a logo. In cases where a logo is used, then it should be submitted in black and white format.
- Usually, it is advisable to have such applications filed through an attorney. In such a case, a power of attorney needs to be furnished.
It is usually best practice to apply for trademark registration soon after the commencement of business. It can be in the name of an individual person or company. This registration is a long term investment and protection for any business, especially in today’s hyper-competitive world.
Edited by Vaibhav Agarwal
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