What is a Trademark?
A trademark is a word, symbol, logo, phrase, or another device mark which can be identified as a source of a good or a service which distinguishes it from that of the competitors. Trademark can be any symbol, phrase, or word which can be easily recognizable and it also denotes a specific product.
In India trademark is governed by the Trademarks Act, 1999. A trademark is registered for a time period of 10 years and after every 10 years it needs renewal. The renewal can be made before the expiry of 10 years also.
Trademarks in India is based on “first to use” basis. Under this system, the trademark can be registered on the basis of first usage in the business, i.e. in India; trademark rights are given to the proprietor on the basis of first usage in the business and are given priority in their territory of use.
Steps for Trademark Registration
A trademark registration can be obtained for any word, symbol, logo, or phrase. In India, even smell and sound can be registered as trademarks; however they are not very often registered.
Trademark registration is a very lengthy process and it involves various steps. The steps for getting a trademark registration are:-
- Trademark Search
The first step in registration of a trademark is to search for trademark. Trademark search is done to find out if there are any other marks or symbols which are registered before or not. If there are any similar marks registered before, then the registration of a trademark is very difficult. Trademark search tells a proprietor if their mark is register able or not. The reason for the same if that if there are similar marks already registered with the trademark registry then it will become difficult to register the proposed mark.
- Application Filing
Once the trademark search is complete and there are no similar marks already registered in the registry, the next step is to file the trademark registration application. The trademark application can be filed either for single class or for multi-class registration.
The registration application can be filed by the Form TM-A which can be made either online through the IP India’s portal or by physically submitting the application at the Trademarks Registry Office.
Along with the registration application various other documents are also required to be submitted. Some of the few documents are:-
- The name, address and nationality of the applicant.
- The incorporation certificates, if the applicant is a company.
- List of goods or services for which the registration is required.
- User affidavit, in case of claim of prior use.
- A copy of trademark to be registered.
- Trademark Objection and Opposition
Once the trademark application is registered with the trademarks office, the trademarks office updates it in the journal and publishes it on its website. The publication is made so that if there is any objection by anyone, then they can make so. The publication is made for a period of 4 months.
If there is any abjection made by any party, a counter-statement is required to be filed by the applicant of the trademark. The counter-statement is to be filed within 2 months of rising of objection.
- Registration of Trademark
Once a counter-statement is filed with the registry, the registry checks if the opposition can be dismissed or there needs to be a hearing. After the hearing process, if the registry is of the opinion to grant the trademark registry, then they would issue a trademark registration certificate to the applicant. Else, the application will be rejected.
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