In Simple Terms, a trademark may be a brand or logo which represents your business. A Trademark can be termed as a visual symbol like a word signature, name, device, label or numerals used by the owner of the trademark for goods or services or other articles of commerce to differentiate it from other similar goods or services originating from different businesses. A trademark is often a word, symbol, logo, name, wrapper, packaging labels, tagline or a mixture of those and is employed by manufacturers or service providers to spot their own products or services. It is used to distinguish the owners’ products or services from those of its competitors.
A Trademark is considered as an effective tool which safeguards from our competitors to use our business identity to sell their products.
Trademarks in India are registered by the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. Trademarks are registered under the Trademark Act, 1999 and supply the trademark owner the right to sue for damages when infringements of trademarks occur.
Example: Coca-cola and Pepsi are two trademarks from the same industry (beverages) which differently identifies the source or origin of the goods as well as an indication of quality.
FUNCTIONS OF TRADEMARK:
- It identifies the service or product and its source.
- It guarantees the quality of the goods and services.
- It helps in advertisement of product or services easily.
- It creates an image of the product in the minds of the public.
- Protecting the trademark owner’s business as well as the goodwill which is attached to his trademark.
TYPES OF TRADEMARK:
1. Standard Mark:
Standard marks are basic marks which indicate the source of Goods and Services and which are not to be classified as Collective or Certification mark. This is the most common mark used for Trademark Application.
2. Collective Mark:
Collective mark is generally used to distinguish the origin of a product or service at a particular geographical region or by particular group or association. The owners of Collective marks are generally geographical Institutions.
3. Certification Mark:
These are the marks used to indicate that the particular product meets the set standards specified with respect to quality or safety or any such thing.
4. Series Mark:
These are marks which are similar to each other substantially and differ only with non-distinctive characters.
PROCEDURE OF TRADEMARK FILING:
STEP 1: TRADEMARK SEARCH:
This search is to check whether your business name or logo is similar to the already registered trademark. Generally, trademark agent conducts this search with the trademark office to check if there any similar trademarks already registered under that particular class. There are two kinds of search i.e online and offline and we have to do both the searches for our trademark. Once you found to be unique you can further proceed to the next step. This will take at least 10-12 hours and sometimes more than that or max within a day.
STEP 2: CREATE TRADEMARK APPLICATION:
Based on the results of the search conducted, the trademark attorney will draft a trademark application, provided that your business name/logo found to be unique. If someone already has an equivalent or similar trademark, you would like to change yours. Or if you are of opinion that the trademark is rightfully yours and you are using it since a long time even before other party trademark registration. You can start using ™ symbol as soon as you file the form of trademark application. This will take 2 to 3 days.
STEP 3: TRADEMARK REGISTRATION:
- In case of Individual/ Small Enterprise, the government fees are Rs. 4500/- and trademark attorney professional fees are Rs. 3500/-. So the total amount in case of single or small enterprise is Rs.8000/-.
- In all the other cases, the government fees are Rs.9000/- and professional fees is Rs. 3500/-. So the total amount is Rs. 12500/- in all the other cases.
- The Trademarks Office will first check your application to ascertain if it’s already been taken. If it has, a trademark objection is going to be raised.
- If it’s no objection, it makes a billboard within the Trade Marks Journal.
- If there is no opposition from other businesses within the next four months, your trademark is registered around six months later.
STEP 4: TRADEMARK PUBLICATION:
The step of publication is incorporated in the trademark registration procedure so that anyone who objects to the registering of the trademark has the opportunity to oppose the same. If, after 3-4 months from publication there is no opposition, the trademark proceeds for registration. In case there is opposition; there is a good hearing and decision are given by the Registrar.
STEP 5: REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE:
Once the application proceeds for trademark registration, following publication in Trademark Journal, a registration certificate under the seal of the Trademark Office is issued.
STEP 6: TRADEMARK RENEWAL:
The trademark can be renewed continuously after every 10 years. Hence, your logo or brand name registration can be protected permanently.
This article is authored by Shivangi Yadav, Third-Year, BBA LL.B, student at Jemtec School of Law, Greater Noida.