How to choose the unique business name for Trademark Registration?

Trademark is an important aspect of Intellectual Property Right (IPR). A trademark may be defined as any sign that individualizes the goods of a given enterprise and distinguishes them from the goods of competitors. Marketing of a particular good or service becomes easier through trademarks. 

Table of contents

Introduction

The owner of the mark can prevent the use of similar or identical signs by the competitors if such marks can lead to confusion. This way similar low-quality substitutes will be prevented from replacing good quality ones. 

Trademark: Definition

Sec. 2(1)(zb) of the Act defines ‘Trademark’ as a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from another and it may include the shape of goods, packaging, and combination of colors as well.

A name or a symbol, which is put on a product to show that, is made by a particular producer. The symbol or name cannot be legally made by any other producer and the name or symbol cannot be legally used by any other producer if properly used, trademarks are forever. 

Object of trademark

The primary object of the Trademark law is to protect the trademarks. Therefore the Act provides for registration of a trademark, the manner for transfer of trademark, and also protects other marks like well-known trademark, collective mark, etc.

The object of trademark law is to ensure market transparency, to deal with the rights of the persons acquiring such trademark, mode of acquisition of such rights, method of protection, and transfer of those rights, to prevent the infringement of trademark and ensure the remedies available in respect thereof.

Trademark registration

To protect your trademark rights you should register the trademark. Registration prevents others from copying your mark and also from misrepresenting other products with your mark. It helps the customers to recognize the brand and its value in one look.

By trademarking the name of your company you are not only protecting the brand, but also securing its reputation, associated ideas, etc. If your trademark is not registered then you cannot successfully refrain others from using it.

Requisites of a good trademark

Requisites of a good trademark

Following points must be observed while determining a trademark as an invented term-

  • There must be an invention and not the appearance of the invention only. It is not possible to define the extent of invention required, the mark must be clear and substantially different from any word in common use.
  • A combination of two or more words that gives a unique word would be a good trademark.
  • An invented term is allowed to be registered as a trademark not as a reward of merits but because of its uniqueness and for being an invented term.
  • A trademark must be taken as a whole.
  • The word should not have any specific meaning, the term that is to be registered as a trademark must be a coined term.
  • A word in a foreign language is considered an invented word and it can be registered as a trademark.
  • The novelty of a term is not a sufficient condition to register it as a trademark.
  • It should not be a generic term or a suggestive term which means the trademark should not be related to the quality of goods.

How to choose a business name trademark?

  • Not too general or vague- It should be such that the users can easily remember it and it should not be a generic term. For eg. ‘Kodak’ is a good trademark for photo cameras.
  • Creativity is the key- A good way to create catchy, memorable business names is to use innovative words. For eg. ‘Audi’ is a good trademark for cars.
  • Keep it simple- The trademark should not be too long and it should be such that users can easily pronounce it. For eg. ‘Coke’ is an innovative trademark for cold drinks.
  • Don’t copy your competitors- Very importantly you should never copy your competitor’s trademark, as this will lead to unnecessary litigations and also cause confusion among the mass. Chances of rejection of such marks are very high. For eg. ‘Lakme’ and ‘Likeme’ are similar trademarks for beauty products.
  • Choose a scalable name- The trademark should not restrict your business. For eg., If you are selling books then you may soon start a stationery shop and hence you should name your business accordingly.

A unique component of a trademark

The uniqueness of a trademark is dependent on the owner and their creativity. The trademark should be innovative and unique. A trademark that is a description and generic has higher chances of facing objection and rejection. For eg., InfoSys is a coined term that is a combination of two words and has no meaning as such. Such trademarks are considered as good and unique.

Do’s

  • Thorough research of the existing trademarks should be conducted and ensure that the proposed trade name has not already been registered. 
  • Do check for the usage of the registered trademark in the same class. You can ensure this by checking at the IP India website, you can use the link- http://ipindia.nic.in/.
  • Use innovative mark and make sure that it is easy to pronounce. For eg. ‘Pepsi’ for soft drinks.
  • Take legal advice before finalizing the trademark for your business. 

Don’ts

  • The trademark should not be descriptive or generic. For eg. ‘Mithaae’ is a generic word for a sweets shop.
  • The trademark should not be similar to your competitor’s mark as it may confuse mass.
  • The trademark should not be too complex or too long that a user cannot remember it.
  • Don’t restrict your business, for eg. ‘Gupta book store’ is a restricted trademark. It should not be too specific that might restrict your business. As later you may plan to start a stationery store with some other products.

Final Words

Choosing a good trade name is indeed a challenging task when you are establishing a start-up business. You can approach lawyers for the same and they can guide you on how to choose a suitable trademark for your business. It’s invariably good to take legal advice from a lawyer. They can also conduct a trademark search for you to cross-verify that no similar trademark is registered.

Remember that a business name is the first step towards building a brand and this will give the first impression to your customers and hence you need to be careful while choosing a good trademark.

CS Madhavi Singh Rajawat is a commerce graduate from IIS University, Jaipur and an associate member of Institute of Company Secretaries of India. She is also an LLB aspirant. Her interest lies in the field of corporate and securities laws, general corporate advisory matters and FEMA matters and compliances, litigation services, and also in NCLT related services. She has proficiency in the drafting of documents

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