Intellectual Property Rights in Trademarks

Intellectual property (IP) refers to original and unique creations of the human mind which have commercial value. Similar to physical properties which are considered as tangible assets of their owners, intellectual properties are considered as intangible assets of their creators, implying that the creators have an exclusive right of ownership over them. This exclusive right of ownership is also termed as the “Intellectual Property Right” of the creator and is protected against infringement by law.

Forms of Intellectual Property Rights

  1. Trademarks which protect unique marks of identity such as names, symbols, logos, taglines, etc
  2. Copyrights which protect original works of Literature, art, music and cinematography
  3. Patents which protect new and original product Inventions
  4. Designs which protect unique physical features of products such as their shapes, sizes, dimensions, colours, etc
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What is a Trademark?

A Trademark is a distinctive mark of identity which distinguishes the goods or services of one business from those of another. It comes in many forms such as unique brand names, trade names, logos, symbols, taglines, slogans, theme tunes, colours, and a combination of a few or all of these elements. The exclusive right of ownership and usership of a Trademark lies with the business that owns it. However, to enforce these rights, the business will have to register the concerned trademark under the Trademarks Act of 1999.

Intellectual Property Rights in Trademark

A trademark may or may not be registered, but registering a trademark guarantees a greater level of intellectual property rights protection in comparison to unregistered Trademarks in India. Here’s how!
Intellectual Property Rights
  1. Registered Trademarks allow the legal enforcement of intellectual Property Rights of its owners
  2. The owners of registered trademarks can sue any party or charge compensation for damages caused due to infringement
  3. Registered trademarks help businesses create a stronger brand identity and customer loyalty without the fear of competitors using similar marks or infringing on the IP rights of the trademark owner.
Note: Intellectual Property Rights in Trademarks are territorial, which means that they are only enforceable in the country or region where the trademarks are registered. To obtain international protection, a trademark owner must apply for registration in each country where they wish to protect their mark.

Examples of Popular Trademarks

  • Nike’s Checkmark or Swoosh symbol
  • Coca-Cola’s distinctive red and white colour scheme
  • Apple’s bitten apple logo
  • McDonald’s golden arches representing the letter ‘M’
  • Amazon’s smiling arrow logo connecting the letters “A” and “Z” in its name