Steps to Trademark a Brand Name in India
1. Formulate a Unique Brand Name and Logo
2. Perform an Online Trademark Search
- Database Search: The Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trademarks regulates trademark registrations in India. One can access their publicly available database to verify the availability of their chosen mark. This can be done online and involves searching for your desired brand name and logo within the database to ensure no existing or pending applications match your selections.
- Online Search Tools: Various online platforms provide trademark search tools. For example, Setindiabiz offers a free trademark search tool that is user-friendly and efficient. It provides a quick way to scan through registered and pending trademarks.
- Hiring a Trademark Attorney or Professional Service: Engaging the services of a trademark attorney or a professional firm such as Setindiabiz’s expert team is often the most thorough and reliable method. These professionals have specialized knowledge and experience in conducting exhaustive trademark searches, covering all possible classes and subclasses of goods and services. They can provide a comprehensive report that outlines potential risks and conflicts, giving you an informed basis for your decision.
3. Submit the Trademark Application
4. Examination of Trademark Application
- Uniqueness of Mark: During this examination, the Registrar delves into the specifics of your application, meticulously verifying the distinctiveness of your brand name. The Registrar checks your proposed trademark against a vast database of existing and pending applications. This is a thorough process, considering trademarks across all 45 classes of goods and services.
- Legal Validity: Apart from the uniqueness of your brand name, the Registrar also verifies the legality of your application. This involves assessing whether your application adheres to the stringent trademark laws of India. This evaluation includes, but is not limited to, checking the correctness of the documentation, ensuring the applicability of your chosen class of goods or services, and evaluating the distinctiveness of the mark in its chosen industry.
- Examination Report: If, during this examination, the Registrar finds any conflicts or legal non-compliance, they raise objections to your application. These objections are communicated through an Examination Report, which you receive typically within one month from the date of filing the application.
- Reply to Examination Report: Once the Examination Report is received, you must respond to each of the objections within a 30-day period. This response, also known as a trademark objection reply, is a legal document that argues against the objections raised by the Registrar, presenting evidence and legal precedents to support your claim.
- Publication or Show Cause Hearing: If the reply is satisfactory and addresses all the objections, the application moves to the next step, which is publication in the Indian Trade Mark Journal. If the Registrar is not satisfied with the response, a hearing may be scheduled where you, or your attorney, can present your case.
- Setindiabiz Service: Engaging the services of a trademark attorney or professional service for this step can be particularly advantageous. Their expertise can be crucial in drafting a persuasive response to objections, improving the chances of your application moving forward to the publication stage
5. Show Cause Hearing in Trademark Registration
- Notification: You will receive a notice from the Registrar’s office detailing the date and time of the hearing. This notice usually arrives a few weeks before the scheduled hearing, giving you ample time to prepare.
- Preparation: Preparing for a show cause hearing involves gathering all relevant documents, data, and arguments to support your case. An experienced trademark attorney can help organize your case effectively and develop compelling arguments to counter the Registrar’s objections.
- Presentation: During the hearing, you or your representative will present your case to the Registrar. This presentation can include verbal arguments, showcasing evidence, and citing legal precedents that bolster your case. It is essential to present your arguments concisely, logically, and persuasively.
- Registrar’s Decision: After hearing your case, the Registrar will make a decision. If the Registrar is convinced by your arguments, they may retract their objections, and your application will proceed to the publication stage. If the objections persist, the Registrar may refuse the application or request further evidence.
- Possible Outcomes: If the hearing concludes in your favor, your trademark application advances to the next stage, which is the publication in the Indian Trade Mark Journal. If your application is refused, you can appeal the decision.
6. Publication in the Indian Trade Mark Journal
7. Issue of the Trademark Registration Certificate
Q1: How long does it take to get a trademark registered in India?
The process of trademark registration in India typically takes about 15-18 months, although this can vary based on the complexity of the application, the Registrar’s workload, and whether or not any objections or oppositions are raised during the process.
Q2: What does a trademark protect?
A registered trademark protects a brand’s identity in the market, providing the owner with exclusive rights to use the trademark in relation to the goods or services for which it is registered. It safeguards the brand from misuse or misrepresentation by competitors, allowing legal recourse in case of infringements.
Q3: Can a rejected trademark application be appealed?
Yes, if your trademark application is rejected by the Registrar, you have the right to appeal the decision. This process typically involves presenting additional evidence or arguments supporting your case, and may require legal representation.
Q4: Is it necessary to hire a trademark attorney for trademark registration?
While not mandatory, hiring a trademark attorney is highly recommended. A trademark attorney can guide you through the intricate process of trademark registration, conduct comprehensive searches, help craft persuasive responses to objections, and represent you effectively in show cause hearings or in case of opposition.
Q5: How often should a trademark be renewed?
A trademark registration in India is valid for a period of 10 years from the date of registration. After this period, the trademark should be renewed every 10 years to maintain its validity. If not renewed, the trademark may be removed from the Register of Trademarks, potentially allowing others to register it.