trademarks are special unique signs that are used to identify goods or services from a certain company. They can be designs, pictures, signs or even expressions. It is important because it differentiates your products from the competitions. It can be associated with your brand or product. Trademarks are classified as IP and therefore is protected from infringement. Trademarks and its rights are protected by the TM ACT 1999
Trademarking a Brand Name
By trademarking your company’s name, you are protecting the brand, its reputation, and your ideas, all of which you undoubtedly invested a great deal of blood, sweat, and tear working on. And while the trademarking process itself will take time in all areas considered, nothing would be worse than not protecting your brand and potentially be faced with an infringement lawsuit from a larger company.
The process of brand trademark registration in India is now possible and convenient such that you can trademark any one of the below things or even a combination of the following:
– Sound Mark
– Smell or a mix of colors
Who Can Apply For a Trademark?
In the Trademark Registration form, the person whose name is mentioned as the applicant will be declared as the owner of the trademark once the trademark is successfully registered. Any individual, a company and an LLP can be an applicant and may file the application for the registration of the particular trademark.
How to Register a Trademark
Registration of a trademark is done by the registry of the trademarks. When you plan on registering a trademark there are a few steps involved.
- Choosing a trademark:Remember to choose a unique and distinctive mark it will represent your company. The other important point is identifying which class you belong to. Currently, there are 45 classes of goods and services under which the trademark can be registered. Classes 1-34 are for goods and classes 35-45 are for service. You can find the class list here
- Mark search:Once you have chosen your mark it is advisable to conduct a search to check whether your chosen mark is similar to an already registered mark. You can either do this yourself by going to the online website of the Controller general of patents, designs and trademarks. On the website, you can find an option to do a public search. Once click on this option you need to choose your class and search the online database.
The other option is to get legal services, although you will have to pay for it is the safer option.
Overall legal services will cost lesser in case your trademark is objected against. Not only will they do the search they will also help you with the whole process.
- Filing application:There are two options you can take while filing for a trademark.– File for a trademark under “one” class. Meaning the trademark will be registered only for the specific class that you have chosen. In this case, you have to fill in form TM-1. The fee payable for the filing of form TM-1 is rupees 3,500. You can find all the amounts payable for the corresponding forms here– The other option is to file for multiple classes or series trademark, or collective trademark. For this, you have to fill in form TM-A. This form allows you to register the trademark beyond one class. Filing of this form has two separate cost brackets:
- Rupees 9,000 or rupees 10,000If you are not a start-up, small enterprise or an individual you will fall under this bracket. You have to pay rupees 9,000 for e-filing of the from or rupees 10,000 if you file the form in person.
- Rupees 4,500 or rupees 5,000If you are an individual, small enterprise or a start-up then you fall under this bracket. Rupees 4,500 is the charge for e-filing of the form or rupees 5,000 if you file the form physically.While filling the form make sure not to make any mistakes, this may lead to delays or even rejection of the application. You have to fill in all the details and also add a picture of the trademark with the dimensions of 9 by 5 cms. You may be required to attach five duplicates of the same. The full file must be then submitted with two duplicates when filing.You can file it online or by yourself or by an agent, whichever is convenient for you. Confirmation of filing will be done immediately if done online, if done physically it may take to 15-20 days.
Online Trademark Registration Procedure
- Step 1: Surf internet for a brand name that is “wacky-enough”This is simply a short and best way for any newcomer to get a catchy, trendy, and an interesting brand name. Picking up a brand name that is wacky and quirky is definitely a wise move since most of the generic names would already be in someone’s hands. Moreover, zeroing in on a particular name requires a quick research process to ensure yourself that you are not picking a brand name that is already in use. The best part here is that you can invent or coin some words with a mix of generic words to create a unique brand name for yourself.
- Step 2: Preparing a trademark applicationThe following supporting documents together with the application have to be submitted for online trademark registration:-– Business Registration Proof: On the basis of your registered business (for eg: sole proprietorship and so on), an identity proof of the company’s directors and an address proof have to be submitted. In case of sole proprietorship business, id proof of the proprietor viz. PAN card, Aadhar card could be submitted. Whereas, in the case of companies, the address proof of the company needs to be submitted.-Soft copy of the trademark.– The proof of claim (which is applicable) of the proposed mark can be used in another country.– Power of attorney to be signed by the applicant.
- Step 3: Filing the application of brand name registrationManual Filing and e-filing are the two different ways for filing the registration.If you choose ‘manual filing’ then you have to personally move and handover your application for the registration to the Registrar Office of Trade Marks situated in the major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, and Chennai. After that, you have to wait for at least 15 -20 days to receive the receipt of the acknowledgment.But in the case of an e-filing system, you will receive your receipt of acknowledgment instantly on the government website. Once after receiving your acknowledgment, you are eligible to use your TradeMark (TM) symbol beside your brand name!Moreover, in case of rejection due to non-approval of the name, the applicant will get a second chance of refilling the same SPICe form without any further charges. It means you get two chances of filing the same form without any extra charge of paying Rs. 1000/- both the times.In case of failure to get the name approved in the second go, you can file the SPICe form again from scratch. This will any day prove to be cheaper than opting for the first option. The whole process including name approval and incorporation takes around 2-3 days.
- Step 4: Examining the process of the brand name applicationOnce the application is dispatched, the Registrar will check out whether you have followed certain terms that your brand name complies with, the existing law. Moreover, there should not be any conflict or dispute amongst any existing or pending brands for the registration. This is the reason why we preferred you to choose a quirky brand name!
- Step 5: Publication of your brand in the Indian Trade Mark JournalsAfter the process of examination, the registrar will publish your brand name in the Indian Trade Mark Journal. This is certainly the most important part of the trademark registration and there should not be any opposition within 3 months (i.e. 90 days) or 120 days, in some cases, from the date of publication. Then your brand name is proceeding towards the acceptance.
- Step 6: The trademark registration certificate issuanceThe Registrar will accept your trademark application if there’s no opposition being raised within the stipulated period of 90 days. Wow! And this will be the happiest moment for you as the Registrar issues the Registration Certificate with the Trademark Registry seal.Right from the moment you have been issued with your certificate, you can use the registered trademark symbol (®) beside your brand name.Thus, with this blog post, we feel that even a beginner can understand all about creating a brand name and registering it successfully.
Status of application
Once you have received the confirmation of the filing of the application you will get an allotment number. You can check the progress of the application online with this allotment number. This will take time, if there is no problem with the filing then you will get to know whether your application is approved or rejected in 18-24 months. If there is a problem then this may take longer.
Files are prioritised according to the filing date, therefore the longer it takes the more priority your application gets. The other perk about filing the application is that even if it hasn’t been approved you can use the TM symbol next to your mark, once you have received your allotment number.
Once your trademark is approved the registry will give you a trademark registration certificate. This will officially confirm that your trademark has been registered and is now protected. The registration will be valid for 10 years from the date of the filing of the application. After this period you can renew the trademark again. Renewal can be done indefinitely.
Please Note: A trademark is only protected and valid in India and does not warrant any international status.