Trademarks are unique symbols, images, words, or combinations of these that help consumers identify a brand or its products. They are an integral part of any company’s brand identity as it allows them to stand apart from their competitors. Without such protection, other brands will be able to mimic or replicate your brand name and logo with ease. That is why filing a trademark application in India is vital to businesses. In this article, we will take a look at how to file a trademark application in India, and why companies must do so.
What is a trademark application?
A trademark is essentially any word, phrase, or symbol that helps consumers identify a brand and the products it makes. It serves as an integral product differentiator, helping companies stand apart from competitors. Trademarks are a form of intellectual property and offer the owner protection from infringement. Trademark registration and regulation occurs as per the provisions of the Trademark Act, 1999.
Could you imagine the company Apple without the half-eaten apple or Nike without the tick mark? Of course not, because these logos have become synonymous with the brand and are recognised around the world. Trademark registration helps these companies prevent others from profiteering off these logos. Unlike patents, trademarks are valid for ten years, following which they may be renewed for the same period once again. Hence, as long as you keep renewing the trademark, your brand will receive protection.
What can companies trademark?
Most companies trademark their brand name as a first step in protecting their brand and its reputation. Other than your company name, trademark laws in India allow companies to register a trademark on the following elements:
- Letters and words
- Unique Phrase
- Sound Mark
- Smell or a combination of colors
What is the Trademark Registry in India?
The trademark registry came into being in 1940 to help with regulating and issuing trademarks in India. Later, in 1999 the Trademark Act was passed providing a more concrete legal framework to trademark registration in India. Both these work side-by-side to provide trademark protection to brands and companies in India. Essentially, the registry helps in implementing the regulations and guidelines issued by the Act. Its primary function is to verify the trademark application submitted and ensure it meets all the conditions laid out by the Act. The Registry is headquartered in Mumbai and has branches in the following places:
Who can file a Trademark application?
Whoever lists their name in the Trademark Registration form will become the owner of the trademark after approval and registration. Hence, it is best if an authorised signatory of the company files for the trademark. Indian allows individuals, companies, and even Limited Liability partnerships to file a trademark application.
Filing Trademark Applications in India
Here’s a quick look at the steps involved in filing a trademark application in India.
- First and foremost, the business owners will have to choose a unique trademark that represents their company.
- Once they have a trademark, they will have to meet with legal experts and determine the class of the trademark. Presently, there are over 45 classes of goods and services with the first 34 being reserved for goods, and the rest for services.
- Next, the business owners will have to check to see if the trademark chosen is available, or if there is another mark similar to yours. Most entrepreneurs take the help of trademark application service providers to perform this online search via the Controller General of Patents’ website.
- The filing of the trademark application may be done in two ways. The entrepreneurs can either file for a trademark under one particular class via Form TM-1, or file a series trademark via TM-A.
- The business owners will also have to upload the required supporting documents and pay the processing fees. A TM-1 application costs around INR 3500, while the TM-A application costs approximately between INR 5,000 and INR 10,000.
Manual Vs E-Filing of the Trademark Application
Business owners have the option of applying either manually or electronically. To complete the manual filing, you will have to hand over the application physically to a Registrar Office of Trademarks. The verification process will take roughly fifteen to twenty days, after which you will receive an acknowledgement receipt. Meanwhile, e-filing may be done via the government’s website and provides an instant receipt of acknowledgement. Once you receive this acknowledgement slip, you can start using the ™ symbol beside your trademark.
In case your mark is rejected, you will receive another chance to file a second SPICe application without paying additional charges. Hence, all applicants receive two chances of applying without paying extra. However, in case you get rejected the second time, you will have to restart the application process, and the entire process, when done online, takes around five days.
Further Processes Involved
After verification, the Registrar will publish the trademark in the Indian Trade Mark Journal. The office will then wait for 90 days to see if someone opposes the granting of the mark, following which you will receive your trademark registration certificate. Once you receive the certificate, you may start using the ® symbol along with the mark.
Documents required for filing a trademark application in India
- Proof of Business Registration
- ID and address proof of the directors
- Address proof of the company
- Soft copy of the proposed trademark.
- Proof of claim to use the mark in another country, if applicable
- Power of attorney signed by the applicant
- Picture of the trademark
For filing a trademark application and register trademark connect Vakilsearch