What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights. A trademark not only gives the trademark owner the exclusive right to use the mark but also allows the owner to prevent others from using a similar mark that can be confusing for the general public.
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The words “Trademark” “copyright” and “patent” are often used interchangeably. Patents protect new inventions, discoveries, designs whereas trademarks does not do so.
Benefits of Trademark Registration?
- Protection against infringement : Trademark registration protects the owner against the infringement and gets the legal protection against the same. No Competitor or other person can use the wordmark or logo registered by the owner under trademark.
- Creation of Asset : Registration of trademark creates an Intangible asset i.e Intellectual property for an organisation. Trademarks are advantageous to the organization. Registered trademarks is a right created which can be sold, assigned, franchised or commercially contracted and it can also be used against infringement.
- Build Trust and Goodwill : Registered Trademark is known to everyone which builds the trust and goodwill among the clients in the market and helps in making loyal clients.
- Differentiates Product : It makes it simple for the clients to differentiate the product. It makes your product identify from that of the existing customers and act as an efficient commercial tool. The logo can communicate your vision, quality or unique characteristic of your company and any organization.
- Global Trademark Registration ; If one wants to register the trademark in countries other than India, the trademark registered in India can be used as the basis of registration there. For any enterprise or individual or business association willing to expand business outside India, the trademark enrolled in India can furnish a decent base alongside the established Goodwill in the country.
- Protection of 10 years at least cost : Online Trademark registration is done on a very low maintainable cost. Once a trademark is registered under the Intellectual Property Rights, the owner has to just pay maintenance cost and renewal cost which is after 10 years of registering the trademark.
- Attract Human Resources : Popular brands attract young talent to join the brand, promote the brand and encourage the positive picture of the enterprise or business association.
Process of Trademark Registration in India
- Trademark Search : Many entrepreneurs do not comprehend the importance of a trademark search. Having a unique brand name in mind is not a good enough reason to avoid a trademark search. Trademark search helps the owner to know if there are similar trademarks available and it gives a fair picture of where your trademark stands. It also prevents the owner of a trademark from future litigation and also saves money as well as time.
- Filing Trademark Application in India : After trademark search, if you are sure that your chosen brand name or logo is not listed in the Trademark Registry in India, you can opt for registering the trademark. The Indian Trademark offices are located at Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. These days filing of applications for a trademark is mostly done online. Once the application is filed with the Trademark Registry of India, an official receipt is immediately generated for future reference. With the help of receipt number, you can see your trademark status of your application online.
- Trademark Examination : After the trademark application is filed, thorough examination is done by the examiner for any discrepancies. The examination might take around 12-18 months. The examiner might accept the trademark absolutely, conditionally or object.
If accepted unconditionally, the trademark gets published in the trademark journal. If not accepted unconditionally, the conditions to be fulfilled or the objections would be mentioned in the examination report and a month’s time would be given to fulfill the requirements or response to the objections.
Once such a response is accepted, the trademark is published in the Trademark Journal. If the response is not accepted, one can request a hearing. If in the hearing, the examiner feels that the trademark should be allowed registration, it proceeds for publication in the Trademark Journal.
- Trademark Publication : The step of publication is incorporated in the trademark registration process 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 fair hearing and decisions are given by the Registrar.
- Registration Certificate : Once the application proceeds for trademark registration, following publication in Trademark Journal, a registration certificate under the seal of Trademark office is issued.
- Trademark Renewal : The trademark can be renewed perpetually after every ten years. Hence your logo or brand name registration can be protected perpetually.