Trademark is a visual symbol, mainly a ‘BRAND’ or a ‘LOGO’ which may be a word, name, label or numerals used by a business entity to distinguish it goods or services from other similar goods or services; those of the competitors and to also earn royalties. Trademarks are registered under the Trademark Act, 1999 & provide the owner the right to sue for damages when infringements of trademarks happen. Registered trademark is an intangible asset of the business used to protect the company’s investment in the making of the brand or symbol. Trademarks proposed which are identical to an existing registered trademark cannot be registered.
Trademark is an essential characteristic of the business’s brand. Many international brands have the brand’s name and logo combined into one known as a Logo Composite Mark.
Also, trademarks are not registered by the trademark department if it is found offensive, deceptive, and not distinctive; etc. Trademarks in India are registered by the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. The applicant gets a ™ within three days, but it takes up to two years to be registered to use the ® symbol.
ADVANTAGES OF TRADEMARK REGISTRATION
Some of the advantages of trademark registration are stated below;
1. Trademark ensures legal protection.
2. Offers greater business opportunities.
3. Ensures goodwill.
4. Leads to creation of asset.
5. Popularizes the brand.
6. Unique Identity of the brand.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A TRADEMARK?
Any person or business entity claiming to be the owner can apply for a trademark including:
3. Proprietor; or
It is recommended to apply as an individual for the trademark.
If a company or a proprietorship is wound up or changes the name of the business, the registered trademark will thus, become invalid. However, in the case of an individual, this problem won’t arise at all.
WHAT CAN ACTUALLY BE TRADEMARKED?
Name – The names that include personal names or surnames of the applicant or forerunner in the enterprise or the signature of the concerned person can be trademarked.
Words – Words that are not descriptive of the character or quality of the goods or services directly. For example; YAHOO is trademarked.
Numbers – Alphanumeric or numerals or any combination thereof can be trademarked.
Images or pictures – Monograms, 3-dimensional shapes, images, symbols, etc. is trademarked. For example; famous sports apparels like Adidas, Nike, and Puma etc have their own trademarked logos.
Sound – Sound trademarks are marked in the audio format. For example; the sound of music in the Vodafone ad
1. Identity proof (in case of an individual).
2. Documents of Company Incorporation (in case of a company).
TRADEMARK REGISTRATION PROCESS
File Form-1 for the trademark to be registered for a particular sector and multiple forms in multiple categories. The concerned person or the company can start using the ™ symbol, duly after the filing of the application.
The Trade Marks Office will initially check the application to see if it’s already been taken or not. If it has been taken, a trademark objection will be raised.
The government may also object the application if it finds the logo obscene or vulgar or hurts religious sentiments of the communities or happens to believe that it is likely to cause grave confusion.
If it raises no objection to the application, it advertises the trademark in the Trade Marks Journal. If no opposition from the other business entities in the next four months, the trademark is then registered after six months.