A business is known by its company name and logo. It is the trademark that distinguishes it from the other company or brands in the market. In the crowd of the brand, your unique name and logo will attract your customers, and they will trust you.
A trademark is a peculiar sign used to identify a particular product or service from a specific company. It can be a design, picture, sign, or even expression. It is directly associated with your brand or product and is considered your intellectual property. Therefore it is protected from infringement by the Trademark Act 1999. Trademarks registered under this act get the ownership right and plead for damages if they infringe.
To legally get the protection rights from copying your mark or misrepresenting other goods or services with your mark, it is inevitable to register your trademark. For instance, Pepsi and Coca-cola. These two are belonged to the beverage category but are identified distinctly due to their logo design which ultimately creates brand value.
Trademarking a brand name
Trademark creates brand value and helps your customers to recognize and differentiate your brand from other similar looking brands in the market. It protects your brand, reputation, and ideas that you have created without caring for your blood, sweat, and tear.
A trademark can be anyone from the below lists or even a combination of the following:
- Colours, or any other.
Here is an example of a few trademarks with a name (Raymond Veil), letters (HDFC), surname (Bajaj), numbers (555), or even word (Flinto).
However, suppose you apply for any trademark which is identical or deceptively similar to an existing registered trademark. In that case, it will be considered as deception or offensive and can not be registered. So it is recommended to pick a unique and easy to remember the name.
Before going to create a trademark for your business, let’s start with some other essential details.
Who can apply for a trademark?
Any individual, company, and LLP claiming to be the trademark owner can apply for the registration and start using the “TM” mark. A registration process may take 8 to 24 months to complete successfully. Once your trademark is registered successfully, you can able to use the registered symbol ®.
Benefits of trademark
A trademark is your identity which gives you the only authority to use the brand. It preserves your business reputation and encourages more purchasing. It helps you to earn your customer’s trust. Moreover, it ensures the product’s origin and also provides legal protection from deceptive use.
How to register a trademark
In India, trademark registrations are controlled by the office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks, Department for Promotion.
- Decide a unique trademark
A trademark must be unique and distinctive, represent your company, and can be easily remembered by your customers or buyers. Currently, all the goods and services are categorised into 45 classes for which trademarks can be registered, classes 1-34 for goods and 35-45 for services. You can download this pdf to check.
- Search online
Once you have decided, Visit the official site and conduct an online search to check if it has yet to be used elsewhere. Only if the search option shows “no match found,” then you can consider your selected mark as unique and can proceed further.
- Fill application
After the confirmation, you can apply for registration either offline (physical filing) or online (E-filing) method. You need to fill up an application form, Form TM-A, for one or multiple classes by downloading it from the official website or e-filing on click on this link https://ipindia.gov.in/. Filing this form has two separate fees slab according to physical and e-filing:
Rupees 9,000 or 10,000
If you are not an individual, startup, or small enterprise, you must pay 9,000 rupees for e-filing the form or 10,000 rupees for filing the form physically.
Rupees 4,500 or 5,000
If you are an individual, startup, or small enterprise, you must pay 4,500 rupees for e-filing the form or 5,000 rupees for physically filing the form.
You can click on this link to check the fees structure https://ipindia.gov.in/form-and-fees-tm.htm
Be careful while filing the form. Please do not make any mistakes; otherwise, it may lead to hold up or even rejection of your application. You need to fill up all the details in the application form and add a trademark picture with dimensions of 9 by 5 cm.
It is to be noted that if you have done it online, confirmation of filing will be issued immediately, but if you apply physically, it may take 15-20 days, and you have to submit the physical form in-person at any of the five Trademark Registry Offices, namely in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Chennai. Once you receive the acknowledgment, you can use the symbol “TM” beside your brand name.
- Scrutinizing your registration application
Now the Registrar of Trademark will scrutinize the application to ensure that your brand name is unique and all the legal formalities are fulfilled.
- Publication in Indian Trade Mark Journals
After the examination, your brand name will be published by the Registrar of Trademarks in the Indian trademark journal. If there is no objection raised against your chosen brand name within the 90 days (or in some cases 120 days), from the publication date, then the Registrar of Trademark proceeds for a Trademark Registration Certificate.
- Trademark opposition
Suppose there is any opposition from a third party within 3 months from the date of publication in the trademarks journal. In that case, the Trademark Registrar will give you a copy of the notice from the opposition. Within a month, you need to file a counter statement; otherwise, your application will be rejected. After that, there will be a hearing, and the Registrar will pass an order of either acceptance or rejection.
However, if there is no opposition within the given period, this step will not apply to you, and you will directly proceed toward the Trademark Registration Certificate.
- Issue of Trademark Certificate
After successfully passing all the steps, the Registrar of Trademark will finally issue the Certificate of registration with the seal. From now onward, this trademark will be protected by Indian Law and is valid for 10 years. After this period, you can renew again.