If you’re planning to start a business or already running one, then you need to protect your brand and business identity from potential infringement. A trademark is a legal tool that helps to safeguard your intellectual property rights and gives you exclusive rights to use your brand name, logo, slogan, and other marks associated with your business. In India, trademarks are registered and governed by the Trade Marks Act, 1999, and the Trade Marks Rules, 2017. In this article, we will discuss the step-by-step process of applying for a trademark in India.
1. Introduction to Trademark Registration in India
A trademark is a unique symbol, word, phrase, logo, design, or combination of these that identifies and distinguishes the goods or services of one business from those of another. It helps to create brand identity and brand value. A registered trademark gives you exclusive rights to use your mark in connection with your goods or services, and you can take legal action against anyone who tries to use your mark without your permission.
2. Types of Trademark Registration in India
There are several types of trademarks that can be registered in India. These include:
- Wordmark: A word or combination of words used as a trademark.
- Device mark: A logo or a design used as a trademark.
- Sound mark: A sound or a tune used as a trademark.
- Shape mark: A shape of goods or its packaging used as a trademark.
- Color mark: A specific color or combination of colors used as a trademark.
- Three-dimensional mark: A three-dimensional shape used as a trademark.
3. Eligibility Criteria for Trademark Registration in India
To be eligible for trademark registration, the following conditions must be met:
- The mark should be unique and not similar or identical to any existing mark.
- The mark should not be descriptive of the goods or services.
- The mark should not be offensive or against public morality.
- The applicant should be the owner of the mark or have the authorization to use it.
- The applicant should be using or intend to use the mark in connection with the goods or services.
4. Documents Required for Trademark Registration in India
The following documents are required for trademark registration:
- Trademark application in the prescribed format.
- Proof of business registration or incorporation.
- Authorization of agent or attorney, if applicable.
- Identity and address proof of the applicant.
- Logo or design of the trademark in the prescribed format.
5. Trademark Search
Before applying for trademark registration, it is essential to conduct a trademark search to ensure that the mark is unique and not already registered or pending for registration. A trademark search can be conducted online on the official website of the Trademark Registry.
6. Filing Trademark Application
Once the trademark search is completed, the next step is to file the trademark application with the Trademark Registry. The application can be filed online or offline, and the fees vary depending on the mode of filing and the number of goods or services covered under the trademark.
7. Examination of Trademark Application
After the trademark application is filed, it is examined by the Trademark Registry to determine whether it
meets the eligibility criteria and is not similar or identical to any existing mark. If there are any objections or issues with the application, the applicant will be notified, and they can respond or amend the application accordingly.
8. Publication of Trademark Application
If the trademark application is accepted by the Trademark Registry, it will be published in the Trademarks Journal. The publication is done to invite any opposition to the trademark application from the public or any interested parties.
9. Opposition to Trademark Application
If any opposition to the trademark application is received within the specified period, a hearing will be held by the Trademark Registry to resolve the opposition. If the opposition is rejected, the trademark registration process will continue.
10. Registration of Trademark
If there are no oppositions or issues with the trademark application, and the mark is found to be eligible for registration, the Trademark Registry will issue a certificate of registration. The trademark will be valid for ten years from the date of registration and can be renewed indefinitely.
11. Trademark Renewal
Trademark renewal is essential to maintain the validity of the trademark. It can be renewed for an additional ten-year period by filing a renewal application and paying the prescribed fee.
12. Trademark Assignment
Trademark assignment refers to the transfer of ownership of a registered trademark from one person to another. The assignment can be recorded with the Trademark Registry by filing the prescribed form and paying the fees.
13. Trademark Licensing
Trademark licensing allows the trademark owner to permit another person to use their trademark for a specific period and purpose in exchange for a fee or royalty. The licensing agreement must be in writing and registered with the Trademark Registry.
14. Trademark Infringement
Trademark infringement occurs when someone uses a registered trademark without the owner’s permission. The owner can take legal action against the infringer and claim damages or seek an injunction to stop the infringement.
Online Process – Trademark Registration in India
- Step 1: Create an Account on the Trademark Registry Website
To begin the online registration process, you need to create an account on the Trademark Registry website https://ipindia.gov.in . You can do this by providing your email address and other relevant details.
- Step 2: Conduct a Trademark Search
Before filing a trademark application, you need to conduct a trademark search to ensure that the proposed mark is not similar or identical to any existing mark. The search can be done online through the Trademark Registry’s website.
- Step 3: Prepare and File the Trademark Application
Once the trademark search is complete, the next step is to prepare and file the trademark application with the Trademark Registry. The application can be filed online through the Trademark Registry’s website.
- Step 4: Pay the Filing Fee
After filing the application, you need to pay the filing fee online through the Trademark Registry’s website. The fee can be paid using net banking, credit card, or debit card.
- Step 5: Track the Application Status
You can track the status of your application online through the Trademark Registry’s website. Once the application is submitted, it will be examined by the Trademark Office. If there are any objections, you will be notified, and you will need to respond to the objections within a specified period.
- Step 6: Publication in the Trademark Journal
If the application is found to be acceptable, it will be published in the Trademark Journal. The journal is available on the Trademark Registry’s website. After publication, there is a period of three months during which anyone can file an opposition to the registration of the trademark.
- Step 7: Registration
If no opposition is filed within the specified period, the trademark will be registered, and a certificate of registration will be issued. The registration is valid for ten years and can be renewed indefinitely.
Trademark registration is an essential step for businesses to protect their brand identity and intellectual property rights. The process of applying for a trademark in India involves several steps, including trademark search, filing the application, examination, publication, opposition, and registration. It is recommended to seek professional assistance to ensure a smooth and successful trademark registration process.
FAQs About Trademark
How long does it take Trademark Registration in India?
The trademark registration process in India takes approximately 18-24 months.
Can I file a trademark application for multiple goods or services?
Yes, a single trademark application can cover multiple goods or services, but additional fees will apply.
Can I register a trademark that is similar to an existing mark?
No, a trademark that is similar or identical to an existing mark cannot be registered.
What is the validity of a registered trademark in India?
The validity of a registered trademark in India is ten years from the date of registration.
Can I renew my trademark after the expiry of the validity period?
Yes, a trademark can be renewed for an additional ten-year period by filing a renewal application and paying the prescribed fee.
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