Imagine a person who have invested a huge amount of time, money and effort to build a brand, goodwill in an individual’s or a customer’s mind. One day, he finds out that his brand name or logo is already registered by another person and he no longer can use it. To avoid this situation and to protect the brand name or logo, its identity and goodwill one should get their logo registered as soon as they start using it. Well, the good news is – Getting a logo trademarked in India is a very simple process.
A registered trademark or logo is not restricted to just a brand name, but if used properly it can become the most valuable asset of a business. Any company, individual or a legal entity can apply for the Trademark Registration of his/her logo. The Trademark Registration process generally takes around 8 to 24 months. However, for the time being, an person who has made such application can use the symbol “TM” with his logo mark and later on when the logo is registered and the Registration certificate is issued, the symbol “R” may be used with the logo mark. As per the Trademark Act, a trademark once registered is valid for a period of 10 years, which can be renewed from time to time.
What is a Logo?
Before getting a logo registered, one should know what a logo actually is. In simple terms, a logo can be any signature, name, label, device, numerals or combination of colors and fonts used to represent his business, primarily to distinguish their brand from other similar goods or services operating in the same market domain.
In India, the process of getting a logo or Trademark Registered is governed by the Controller General of Patents Design and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. A logo once registered gives the owner an exclusive right to sue for damages in case of any trademark infringement under the Trademarks Act, 1999. The Trademark Registry also have the power to refuse Trademark Registration if the mark or logo to be registered is deceptively similar with an existing registered mark or logo or is offensive or is likely to cause deception or confusion.
Getting the Logo Trademarked
- 1st Step – Trademark Search: This search is conducted by a Trademark Attorney to check whether the logo is similar to an earlier registered logo. This search can be done by both ways, online and also offline. One should proceed to the next step only after the Trademark Attorney is satisfied that the logo is unique.
- 2nd Step – Drafting a Trademark Application: Once the logo mark or brand name is found to be unique, the Trademark Attorney shall draft a Trademark Application, i.e. Form TM- 1. The Government Cost of the Application form is INR 4000 and is a one time fee for each class.
Along with Form TM – 1, the following supporting documents are also needed:-
I. An identity proof of the Director of the company along with address proof.
II. A picture of a brand logo.
- 3rd Step – Filing the Trademark Application: The Trademark Application can be filed by 2 ways, manual filling and e- filling. The Manual filling is done by personally going to any office of the Registrar of Trademarks located in Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. The acknowledgement of the application and the receipt in this process is received generally after 15-20 days from filling. The e filing process is more convenient and quicker, because here the acknowledgment receipt is received immediately. After the owner of the logo mark receives the acknowledgement, he is eligible to use the symbol “TM” along with his logo.
- 4th Step – Examination of the Registration Application by the Registrar: After the Application is received by the Registry, the Registrar checks whether the logo is similar or deceptively similar to any registered logos or mark or any pending logos or marks.
5th Step – Publication in the Indian Trademarks Journal: Once the logo mark is examined by the Registrar of Trademarks and no objection is found, the logo mark is then published in the Trademark Journal. A stipulated time period of three months is provided by the Trademark Registry if any third party wish to oppose the registration of the proposed logo mark.
- 6th Step – Trademark Registration Certificate: If no objection is raised within a stipulated period of three months, a Registration Certificate is issued by the Trademark Registry. Now the owner of the logo mark can use the registered trademark symbol “R” along with his logo.
Getting the logo trademarked can be a lengthy process, but it is absolutely essential to get it registered to gain legal protection for one’s brand.
Article By: Sunchet Thareja – Legal Associate