A trademark is a visual symbol, which may be a word, name, device, label or numerals used by a business to distinguish it goods or services from other similar goods or services originating from a different business. A registered trademark is an intangible asset or intellectual property for a business and is used to protect the company’s investment in the brand or symbol. A trademark can be registered if it is distinctive for the goods and services you provide. Proposed trademarks that are similar or identical to an existing registered trademark cannot be registered. Also, trademarks are not registrable if it is offensive, generic, deceptive, not distinctive, contains specially protected emblems, etc.,
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 provide the trademark owner with a right to sue for damages when infringements of trademarks occur. Once a trademark is registered, R symbol can be used and the registration will be valid for 10 years. Registered trademarks nearing expiry can be easily renewed by filing a trademark renewal application for a period of another 10 years.
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Reasons to Register A Trademark
- Legal Protection: Only owners of registered trademarks are allowed to take action or sue for damages in case of trademark infringement. Trademark protection is not enforceable for trademarks that are not registered. All registered trademarks are valid for a period of 10 years and can be renewed for a period of another 10 years easily by filing a trademark renewal application.
- Unique Identity: Trademark filing will help establish a unique identity and brand for your goods or services. Competitors will not be allowed to use your trademark for similar goods or services.
- Creation of Asset: Trademark filing creates an intellectual property, which is an intangible asset for an organization. Registered trademark is a right that can be sold, franchised or commercially contracted.
- Trust or Goodwill: Registered trademarks can be used to create a sense of trust, goodwill and quality in the minds of your customer that is unique to your business. Registered trademarks show your customer that you care about your brand.
- Global Trademark Filing: A trademark filing in India can be used as the basis for trademark filing in other countries if required. Foreigners and Foreign entities can also register a trademark in India if required.
- Identity and Business Proof: Identity proof like passport, drivers license, aadhaar card, voters id or ration card for the trademark owner or person authorised by the trademark owner for filing the trademark application. In case of legal entity or registered body, then partnership deed or incorporation certificate or registration certificate is required.
- Logo: If the trademark application is made for a word, logo is not required. In all other cases, logo must be submitted. The logo must contain the exact words mentioned in the trademark application.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What can be registered as a trademark?
Any word, name, device, label, numerals or a combination of colors that can be represented graphically (in a paper) can be registered as a trademark. The trademark to be registered must also be distinctive for the services or goods for which it is proposed to be registered.
What trademarks are NOT registerable?
Any trademark, which is identical or deceptively similar to an existing registered trademark or trademark for which application for registration has been made, cannot be registered. Also trademark that would likely cause deception or confusion or is offensive may not be registered. Geographical names, common names, common trade words and common abbreviation can also not be registered as a trademark.
Will my trademark application be valid for all services and goods?
Trademark applications are distinctive to the goods or services it is represents. Therefore, trademark applications are made under a “Class” of goods or service it represents. The trademark application will therefore be valid for the entire class of goods or service it represents.
What is a trademark class?
To standardise the goods or services, which the trademark will represent, the Trademark Registry has a list of 45 Classes under which all types of goods and services are represented. The trademark application must mention the type of goods or services the trademark will represent under one or more of the classes, and trademark registration is granted for that specific class of goods or service.
Will my trademark application be valid across the world?
No, trademark registered in India will be valid only in India. However, some countries use the trademark filing in India as a basis for registering the trademark in their country.
Can a foreigner or a foreign entity apply for trademark in India?
Yes, a foreign person or a foreign entity can apply for trademark registration in India.