How to Add Digital Signature to Your Trademark Application?

  • Setindiabiz Team
  • January 2, 2024
How to Add Digital Signature to Your Trademark Application?

This blog explores the step-by-step process of using digital signature for trademark applications. These applications are filed online and are required to be authenticated using the applicant’s DSC, in this case, the trademark owner or any other person authorised by him. For a deeper understanding, we have explained the basics of Digital Signatures as well.

BRIEF SUMMARY
The process of filing applications for various legal purposes, including Trademark Registration has significantly transformed in this digital age. Trademark applications have now embraced the convenience and efficiency of electronic filing, and a crucial element that has made this possible is digital signatures. Digital signatures serve as an electronic means of authenticating and verifying Trademark Registration forms and documents. By using digital signature for trademark filing, applicants can streamline their submissions, enhance document security, and expedite the overall trademark application review and approval process.

What is Digital Signature?

Before we proceed with the use of Digital Signature for Trademark process, let’s first understand what Digital Signatures really are. Digital signatures are electronic equivalents of physical or handwritten signatures that ensure the integrity and authenticity of digital documents like trademark applications. They create a unique digital fingerprint, known as a hash, of the document’s content. This hash is encrypted using the signer’s private key to create the digital signature, which is then attached to the document.
Digital signatures do not encrypt the document itself but serve to verify its origin and integrity. Any modifications or tampering with the document after the digital signature is applied to it, will result in its immediate invalidation. To gain access to the document, the recipient uses the signer’s public key and decrypts the encrypted hash to compare it with a recalculated hash of the document. If the hashes match, it confirms that the document’s integrity and the authenticity of the signature are intact from its very origin.

Classes of Digital Signature

In India, Digital Signatures are available in different classes, each depicting a different level of security, when it comes to the verification of electronic forms and documents. For Instance, we have
  1. Class I DSC, which verifies the identity of the applicant least securely, and is hardly used for any e-filing purposes
  2. Class II DSC, which verifies the identity of the applicant and origin of documents a little more securely and efficiently than Class I digital signature, and is used in some regularly filed e-applications
  3. Class III DSC, which verifies the identity of applicant and origin of documents most securely, are often used for many significant e-filing purposes like business incorporation, tax registrations and returns, labour law registrations and returns, e-tendering, etc
For the purpose of e filing Trademark Application, the applicant must use a Class II or Class III Digital Signature only. This ensures that the documents and the forms filed are authentic and have been verified with the identity of the applicant. However, if you go by personal recommendation, a Class III DSC would be ideal for use as it offers the least chance of forging the documents and forms submitted.

Purpose of Digital Signature in Trademark Application

The key purpose of using digital signature for trademark application is to provide authenticity, integrity, and security to the submitted form and documents. By incorporating digital signatures into the trademark efiling process, several important goals can be achieved, some of which are mentioned below.
  1. Authentication and Proof of Identity: Digital signatures serve as a reliable proof of the applicant’s identity and intent. They provide assurance that trademark efiling has been done by an authorized party, mitigating concerns regarding fraudulent filings and protecting the rights and interests of trademark owners.
  2. Document Integrity: Digital signatures ensure the integrity of the submitted documents. Any modifications or tampering with the documents after the digital signature is applied will render the signature invalid. This helps maintain the integrity and trustworthiness of the e trademark application, as the documents remain unaltered during transmission and storage.
  3. Efficiency and Streamlined Process: The inclusion of digital signatures enables the entire trademark application process to be conducted online, eliminating the need for physical paperwork. This results in time and resource savings for both the applicants and the trademark offices. Additionally, digital signatures facilitate faster processing and communication between applicants and trademark offices, leading to expedited review times and improved efficiency.
  4. Legal Admissibility: Digital signatures hold legal admissibility, ensuring that the signed documents can be used as evidence in legal proceedings. They comply with various national and international laws and regulations governing electronic transactions and provide a solid foundation for the enforceability of the trademark application.

Steps to Use Digital Signature in Trademark Application

Now that you know the importance of using Digital Signature for trademark e-filing, it’s time you understand the process of its incorporation. Incorporating a digital signature into a trademark application is a straightforward process that enhances its authenticity and security. It involves two essential steps:
  • Procuring the appropriate Digital Signature (Class II / Class III)
  • Downloading & Installing the DSC Signing Component.
Let’s understand how to execute both these steps to get a clear roadmap for a seamless integration of digital signature into your trademark application.

Procure a Digital Signature Online

Digital Signature for IPR is issued by Certifying Authorities (CAs) in India. These authorities are licensed by the Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs and provide all the three classes of Digital signatures to individual and non-individual applicants. To purchase a Class II or Class III digital signature from any of these Certifying Authorities for Trademark application, the following steps have to be followed.
Procure a Digital Signature Online

Step 1- Select the appropriate CA

The first step is to choose a Certifying Authority which best suits your needs in terms of accessibility, affordability and quality of service.

Step 2 - Visit the website of the CA

Once you’ve decided on the Certifying Authority, go to its Official Website and access the online DSC application

Step 3- Fill out the DSC Application

There are two modes in which you can apply, one being the Adhar-based form and the other being the PAN-based form. You may choose the Adhar-based form if your mobile number is linked with Adhar, otherwise you can go for the PAN-based form. It is important to understand the process of filling out the DSC application correctly to ensure its approval by the authorities.

Step 4- Upload the Documents

Once the form is filled out, you can upload the necessary documents. For the Adhar-based application, you only need the xml file of your e-Aadhaar downloaded from the UIDAI website. For PAN-based application, the applicant will have to submit a PAN card of the applicant (passport mandatory, if he is a foreigner), along with an address proof and a colored photograph.

Step 5- Pay the DSC Application Fees

Lastly, you need to pay the application fees, which depend on the Certifying authority you’re applying to, the validity of your DSC, and the class of your DSC. Finally, you can submit the form and wait for your DSC to arrive as a downloadable file on your registered e-mail address.

Install the DSC Signing Component

The Digital Signature you’ve received must be downloaded and stored in your system. To upload this file with the Trademark Application, you need to first download and install the Signing Component utility. Here’s how you can do this.

Step 1- Check Your Computer’s Windows-bit Version:

The process of installing the Signing Component differs slightly for the 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions, so you need to check the version your system follows. For this, you can open the “File Explorer”, and then go to the “My Computer”or “This PC” section. Right Click, and go to Properties. Here you can check whether your Operating system is 32-bit or 64-bit.

Step 2 - Download the Signing Component

The next step is to download the Signing Component utility. For this, you need to visit the IP India website and go to Trademarks on the main menu bar. From the dropdown, click on “Related Links”, and then the “e-filing” option. On a new window you will find the link to the “Signing Component”. Click on the link to download and extract the Signing Component file – capicom.dll

Step 3: Install the Signing Component in your System

If your system is a 32-Bit Windows version, copy the capicom.dll file to My Computer/ Local Disc (C:)/Windows/ System32. Find the cmd file here, and right click on it to open in Administrator mode. Finally run the command regsvr32 capicom.dll for a successful installation. However, if your system has a 64-bit Windows version, the installation process is a little different. Click on the Windows button and type %systemroot%\SysWoW64\ in the search text box to open system folder Copy the capicom.dll file to this folder and open the cmd prompt in administrator mode Go to the %systemroot%\SysWoW64 folder again from cmd prompt Run command regsvr32 capicom.dll for successful installation.
After the successful installation of the Signing Component, you can go back to IPIndia website, and register as a user to proceed with the trademark efiling.

Benefits of Adding Digital Signature to Trademark Application

The utilization of digital signature for trademark application offers several notable advantages. Firstly, it eliminates the need for physical paperwork and enables the e-filing of trademark applications entirely online. This saves time and resources, besides reducing the risk of document loss or damage. Additionally, digital signatures enhance the authenticity and trustworthiness of trademark applications, as they provide verifiable proof of the applicant’s identity and intent. This mitigates concerns like fraudulent filings and protects the rights and interests of trademark owners. Furthermore, digital signatures facilitate faster processing and communication between applicants and trademark officials, resulting in an expedited approval process by the Trademark Registry Offices.

Using a digital signature for the trademark e-filing process offers numerous benefits, including enhanced security, efficiency, and credibility. By following the steps outlined in this blog to obtain the appropriate Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) and installing the DSC Signing Component, applicants can streamline the e-filing of trademark applications while ensuring the integrity and authenticity of their documents. Embracing digital signatures not only saves time and resources but also protects valuable trademarks in the digital landscape. As technology continues to advance, harnessing the power of digital signatures becomes increasingly crucial in safeguarding intellectual property rights and unlocking new opportunities in the digital era.

Conclusion

FAQ

Q1: Are digital signatures legally recognized for efiling trademark applications?

Yes, digital signatures are legally recognized for e filing trademark applications. They comply with various national and international laws and regulations governing electronic transactions, providing legal admissibility and enforceability.

Q2: How do digital signatures enhance the security of trademark applications?

Digital signatures enhance the security of trademark applications by ensuring document integrity and authenticity. Any modifications or tampering with the documents after the digital signature is applied will render the signature invalid, safeguarding the application against unauthorized changes.

Q3: Can I use any digital signature for my trademark application?

No, you can only use Class II or Class III Digital Signature for trademark application issued by a trusted Certification Authority (CA). The DSC validates your identity and ensures the authenticity of the digital signature

Q4: Do I need specialized software to use digital signatures in trademark applications?

Yes, you need to install the DSC Signing Component to enable the use of digital signatures on your Trademark Application. The link to this Component is given on the IPIndia Website.

Q5: Can I use a digital signature for trademark applications filed internationally?

Yes, digital signatures are recognized and accepted for trademark applications filed internationally. However, it’s essential to ensure compliance with the specific requirements and regulations of each country or jurisdiction where you intend to file the application. It’s recommended to research and understand the specific guidelines and procedures for using digital signatures in international trademark applications.
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