Trademark Law in India is well settled and offers potent protection and enforcement regime for brand holders. The Trade Marks Act, 1999 provides for registration, protection and enforcement of trademarks in India. Put simply, a Trademark is purely a name, word, symbol, design, image or a combination of these which enables the consumer to distinguish between one’s product or services from the rest of the market. Three dimensional marks, shape marks, color marks, sound marks, also come under the ambit of trademark registration. A Trademark owner has an exclusive right to use the trademark as a source to identify the goods produced or services provided by him. In case he notices any unauthorized use of his registered mark, he can commence legal proceedings of trademark infringement against such unauthorized use. Moreover, a trademark is an indication of origin of goods as well as an indication of quality. A Registered Trademark, if used properly can become the most valuable asset of a company. India, being a member of the Madrid Protocol gives the right holders a benefit to obtain trademark registration in multiple countries through single application. An unregistered trademark in India can be protected under the common law principle of passing off.
Procedure for Registering a Trademark
Getting a trademark registered in India is a very simple process. The Trademark Registration process generally takes around 8 to 24 months. 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.
The Nice Classification provides a list of classes and list of goods and services. There are 34 classes of goods and 11 classes of services. Classes 1 to 34 deals with specification of goods and 35 to 45 deals with specification of services.
Getting a Trademark Registered:
- Trademark Search – This search is conducted by a Trademark Attorney to check whether the logo or a brand name is similar to an earlier registered one. This search can be done by both ways, online and also offline.
- 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.
- Filing the Trademark Application – The Trademark Application can be filed by 2 ways, manual filling and e- filling.The e filing process is more convenient and quick as in this process the acknowledgment receipt is received immediately. After the owner of the logo mark receives the acknowledgment, he is eligible to use the symbol “TM” along with his logo.
- Examination of the Registration Application by the Registrar – After the Application is received by the Registry, the Registrar checks whether the logo or brand name is similar or deceptively similar to any registered logos or mark or any pending logos or marks.
- 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.
- 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 is a lengthy process, but it is absolutely essential to get it registered in order to achieve a legal protection of the brand.