Want to know about trademark registration? In this article, I will cover the registration, process; advantages, procedure, symbols and what can be trademarked? So, before you register a trademark! Go through this article and it has all the answers to the questions.
What is a trademark?
It is a sign, design, or symbol which can be identified easily of products or services of a particular source, trademarks used to recognize services are also called service marks. The owner can be a business organization, individual, or any legal entity. It is located on a label, package, voucher, or on the product itself.
For the sake of company identity, trademarks are often displayed on corporation buildings. The reason behind trademarks is to allow individuals and companies to identify the source of their goods or services and to distinguish them from others in the industry.
Once there are no objections for the trademark registration application, the trademark manuscript and certificate will be prepared and sent to the trademark application. Once the certificate is issued, the trademark is considered to be a registered trademark of the owner, granting the trademark owner exclusive use of the mark. The ® symbol can now be placed next to the trademark or logo.
Process for Trademark Registration
It can also be obtained for words, logos, numerals, slogans and more in India. It provides the legal right of exclusivity for use of the mark to the owner of the trademark. It is a long process involving multiple steps.
Before starting the process, the trademark professional must conduct a search of the trademark database. Search will give information about a similar trademark that has already been filed with the trademark registry and It can be conducted by visiting the Trademark Registrar Website.
Once a trademark investigation is completed, the request for hallmark registration can be filed with the Trademark Registrar. It must be made in the prescribed manner and filed along with the fee for trademark registration.
A trademark application should contain the following:
- Logo or Trademark
- Name and address of the trademark owner
- Trademark Class or Classification
- Trademark used since date
- Description of the goods or services
Trademark Application Allotment
The allotment number is provided within one or two working days and can also then be tracked online through the Online Trademark Search facility. Usually, on obtaining trademark application allotment number, the proprietor of the trademark can affix the TM symbol next to the logo.
It was established by the Vienna Agreement (1973), is an international classification of the figurative elements of marks. Once it is filed, the Trademark Registrar will apply the Vienna Classification to the trademark based on the abstract essentials of marks. While this work is in progress, the application status usually reflects as “Sent for Vienna Codification”.
Once Vienna Codification process is completed, it will be allotted to a Trademark Officer in the Trademark Registrar Office. The Trademark Officer would then review the application for the correctness and issue a trademark examination report. It has the ability to accept the trademark registration application and permit for trademark journal publication. If it gets objected by the Trademark Officer, the applicant has the right to appear before the Trademark Officer and address the objections.
Trademark Journal Publication
The trademark journal is published daily and contains all the trademarks that have been established by the Trademark Registrar. Once the logo is available the public have an opportunity to object to the trademark registration if they believe they will be damaged by that registration. If there are no objections filed within 90 days of that publication, the mark will typically be registered within 12 weeks – a month’s time.
If the application is opposed by a third-party, the hearing will be called for by the Trademark Hearing Officer. Both the applicant and the opposing party have the chance to appear at the hearing and provide justifications for the registration or rejection of the trademark application. Based on the confirmation presented and the hearings, the Trademark Hearing Officer will determine if the application should be accepted or rejected.
Advantages of Trademark Registration
- Exclusive Rights: The owner enjoys exclusive rights over the trademark and can use the same for all the products falling under the class(es) applied. Further, the proprietor can enjoy the sole ownership of the Trademark and can stop others from the illegal use of the Trademark under the same class where it is registered.
- Goodwill and Builds trust: The quality of your product and services are known by everyone through the trademark and which establishes trust and goodwill among the customers in the market and creates permanent customers who are loyal and always opt for the same brand.
- Differentiates Product: It makes it easy for consumers to find your products and also makes your product and identity of products different from that of the existing and foreseen competitors and acts as an efficient commercial tool. The logo can commune your vision or unique characteristic of your company.
- Use of ® symbol: Once the trademark is registered you can use the ® sign on your logo stating that it is a registered trademark and no one can use the same logo. If someone else uses the trademark then you can also take legal action against the party if the trademark is registered.
- Protection for 10 Years at low cost: Online Trademark registration is done on a very low maintainability cost. Once the trademark is registered you just have to pay the maintenance cost and renewal cost which is after 10 years of registering the trademark. It is price efficient and helps your business create a unique image.
What can be trademarked?
Color, device, word, and symbol is all eligible for a trademark and anything that distinguishes the goods of your party or company from another qualifies. However, the item should be used in a commercial setting to obtain protection from the law.
A symbol also lets customers know who you are and this is particularly important when two companies in the same industry have a similar name, for example.
The three types of trademarks include:
- Service Marks: These words, phrases, or symbols define a company’s goods or services and a service mark indicates a service, while a trademark indicates a good.
- Collective Marks: These are the same as trademarks, except they identify a greater group and members of a group can profit from a single trademark.
- Certification Marks: These marks cover the uniqueness of a product. For example, if something is 100 percent cotton, it could fall under a qualifications mark.
It’s essential to note that just because you have a trademark doesn’t mean you own a monopoly regarding your name, symbol, or logo. You can only control the interest over that logo or name and the association between your goods or services.
The hardest trademarks to register include:
- Names that consist of a geographic location, such as California Pizza Kitchen
- Generic names
- Deceptive names
- Surnames pertaining to a product
However, remember that there can be exceptions to the rule.
Trademark application process steps
- Step 1: The first step is the select a trademark.
- Step 2: It is suitable for the candidate to look for the trademark records registry and ensures that the intended trademark does not resemble the registered mark.
- Step 3: Investigate can be done.
- Step 4: It is advisable to consult a qualified lawyer as they are familiar in their profession and are be able to conduct an exhaustive search. Hire an attorney if you think you have right on a particular trademark but if it is already registered.
After thorough research, the application for registration in the logo can be made in the prescribed form.
Filling of Form TM-1
Step 1: The application for the registration of the hallmark should contain the following particulars:
- “Mark” chosen to be registered,
- Trademark owner’s information,
- List of goods or services for which the logo will be used.
Step 2: The application for a hallmark can be made both offline and online.
- Online mode: A Class III Digital Signature Certificate is necessary.
- Offline mode: An application to the Offices of the Trademark Registry is necessary.
Step 3: Once the application for the logo is completed, the Registrar will seek for the uniqueness of the name and will check the registered marks and awaiting applications to decide whether any such symbols exists and to know the register-ability of the proposed mark as per the law.
Step 4: In case of objection by the registrar to accept the application with certain terms and conditions, amendments, limitations, etc., the same is communicated in writing to the applicant and the candidate has to respond back regarding their rectification within a period of three months.
Use your Trademark
Now you can use the Logo, but the use of symbols would take up to 2 years if everything goes easily.
Issue of Examination Report
First, the government will confirm whether the application has any objections: Here’s what happens if there is:
No Objection: If there is no objection against the application made, then a letter of acceptance will be issued commonly known as TLA.
If there is an Objection
Reasons for objections as follows:
- If a proposed trademark is similar to a registered trademark.
- If a word use is obscene and may hurt the sentiment of particular religions.
If you are thinking to challenge the objection, then an additional fee Rs. 3,000 lawyer’s fee which is a minimum of Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 5,000 depending on the lawyer is charged.
The attorney will frame a response to the objection that has arisen and will present the uniqueness of the trademark, it is mandatory for a lawyer to be well informed and aware of business activities and if a ministry discarded the objection, the trademark will be eligible for advertisement in trade Mark journal.
Advertisement in Trade Marks Journal
- The trademark will be advertised in the trademark journal once the application is accepted. It will give a third party a chance to resist the published trademark.
- Entry of a hallmark will need the date of registration, a list of goods or services for which it is registered. The registration will be valid for 10 years and can be further renewed.
- If no one opposes the particular trademark within four months of its publication in the Trademark Journal, then a trademark registration certificate will be issued within 6 to 10 months.
- If there is any opposition by the third party, the process of obtaining a certificate may extend to many more months. Both parties will get the opportunity to be heard. Legal charges too will be applicable.
Trademark symbols ‘™’, ‘SM’, ‘R’
TM is a sign to show that the prior mark is a trademark and usually it is used in connection with an unregistered mark, to inform potential infringers that a slogan, logo, term or other indicator is being claimed as a trademark. It does not guarantee that the owner’s mark will be confined under trademark laws; the owner might carry on TM till the time it is refused.
SM is similar to the symbol TM; it is used in connection with a service mark, such as banking or legal services, rather than tangible goods, SM symbol does not guarantee that the owner’s mark will be confined under hallmark laws.
® could be notified of registered ownership used in many regions or countries to inform the public that a service mark is registered and to provide constructive notice of the legal rights status of the mark with which it is used. The ® symbol must be used only in connection with service marks. Use of ® with an unregistered mark might effect in claims of fraud where the owner demonstrates intent.