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Benefits of a Trademark Registration
There are numerous other advantages for example
- Trademark registration lends credibility to the source of the goods or services.
- A registered trademark ensures that goods and services are of high quality.
- A registered trademark helps to promote both goods and services.
What are the different types of Trademarks?
- Fanciful and Arbitrary marks: The most powerful trademarks are those that are fanciful and arbitrary. The mark does not describe the product or service to which it is attached in any way. An arbitrary mark is a common word that represents arbitrary goods or services, as opposed to a fanciful mark, which is a completely made-up word. The best choice for a trademark is a fanciful or arbitrary mark. An example of an arbitrary trademark is “Camel” in connection with cigarettes.
- Suggestive marks: It describes the product or service they represent in an indirect manner. The mark does not directly refer to or describe the product or service; rather, it hints at some of the product or service’s characteristics. An excellent example of a suggestive trademark is Walmart since it is suggestive for retail stores because the name implies a “mart”.
- Descriptive marks refer to and describe the product or service they represent directly. Descriptive words cannot be registered as trademarks under current law. However, if the mark has acquired distinctiveness or secondary meaning, it may be eligible for trademark registration. “Sugar-Free” is a descriptive trademark for a sugar substitute.
- Generic mark: is a commonly used word, mainly in the English language, to identify products or services. For example, the word “pencil” is a generic mark for a brand of pencils. A generic word can only be registered easily as a trademark. On the other hand, some brands have become household names due to years of consistent use. For example, the photocopying term “Xerox” has become a generic term.
Procedure to file and register a Trademark in India
Step 1: Trademark search
Step 2: Filing of a Trademark Application
- Information about the Applicant
- The mark was chosen for registration.
- A list of the goods or services that the mark will cover
- The statement of use (date of first use), i.e., the date since you’ve been using the mark, or, if you haven’t already, it would be filed on a “proposed to be used” basis.
Step 3: Issuance of a Trademark Examination Report
- Absolute grounds — When the mark lacks distinctiveness or cannot distinguish one company’s goods or services from another. This is most likely to occur if you have chosen a descriptive or generic word as your trademark. For example, suppose you choose the word “tech” as a trademark for your technology-related services. In that case, it will be rejected on the absolute grounds that the trademark is descriptive. As a result, as previously stated, choosing an arbitrary or fanciful mark as your trademark is preferable.
- Relative grounds— apply when the mark is similar or identical to a previously registered trademark on the Trademarks Register. If your mark is similar or identical to a previously registered mark, the examiner will object on the same basis.
Step 4: Response to the Examination Report and Post-Examination
Step 5: Advertisement of the Trademark
Step 6: Opposition to the Acceptance of a Trademark
Step 7: Registration of the Trademark
Documents required for a trademark registration
- Trademark application filing
- Show cause hearing on objection raised by the registry
- Opposition reply- the documents are required to be filed at evidence stage.
Documents required for trademark application filing
- A copy of the proposed logo, preferably in black and white (optional) or CMYK codes in the case of a coloured logo. However, if no logo is provided, a trademark application for the word can be filed;
- Form 48, or Power of Attorney, which has been duly signed and stamped. This Form authorizes a trademark attorney to file the trademark registration application on the Applicant’s behalf;
- User proof of the trademark application and user affidavit by the Applicant in case the applicant is using the trademark
- Startup recognition certificate or MSME certificate, if any. MSME certificate is also known as Udyam registration.
- The application fee for trademarks in India ranges from Rs. 4500 to Rs. 9000.
Q1: How long does the trademark registration process take?
The trademark registration process in India typically takes 6 months to 1 year to complete from the date of filing the application. However, the duration can increase based on the completion of your application, the number of objections and oppositions received, and the workload of the Trademark Registry Office. The time duration may extend to a few years as well.
Q2: How long does trademark protection last?
In India, a trademark once registered, receives a valid protection for ten years from the date of filing the application. You can renew the registration by filing the renewal application 6 months before the date of expiry. There is no limit on the number of times a trademark can be renewed, however the validity of the renewed registration lasts for 10 years at a time.
Q3: Can I use a trademark without registering it?
Yes, you can use a trademark without registering it. However, registering your trademark provides stronger legal protection and exclusive rights of ownership to you, making it easier to enforce your rights against infringement.