Trademark Registration in India: Process and Procedures
Trademark registration is very important. Do I need to register my trademark or logo is a common question I face from my customers. But, you know, I convince them within seconds by just asking them that what you would feel if someone steal your logo and trademark and misuse it which you have made after long thoughts and discussion or even sleepless nights.
This is what exactly happens if you are not serious about brand registration. It would be a huge loss of time, efforts and costs. So, take it before someone haves it.
What is Trademark and Trademark Registration?
According to Wikipedia “A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks”.
Simply say, trademark is a unique symbol or word(s) used to represent a business or its products. You can also call trademark as logo or brand. Pepsi and Coco cola are two trademarks in beverages industry.
Trademark registration is an official process in which you formally file your brand and on one will be able to use it once it is registered.
Logo registration process is not so complex in India. Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks under Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India is the authority to issue trademarks. Trademark registration comes under the Trademark Act, 1999. The act provides the trademark owner the right to use it.
You will not be able to register a trademark which is identical or deceptively similar to an existing registered trademark. The case is same with trademarks that would likely cause deception or confusion or is offensive.
How to Find a Unique Trademark?
As we mentioned a trademark is a unique representation of your business. It is what distinguishes your products among others. So, you will need to take some quality time to find one which suits your business.
A trademark should be easy to spell and remember. Otherwise, it might be forgotten even from the market. The best trademarks are invented words or coined words or unique geometrical designs.
Since no one can have monopoly right on a geographical name, common personal name or surname, it is better to not use them. It is a must you conduct a market survey to discover if same/similar mark is used in market.
Trademark Registration Process: Step by Step Guide
Trademark registration is a very easy process. The following steps will guide you on the process.
Step 1: Trademark search
Trademark search is essential for brand registration. This is to check whether the logo or brand you have chosen is similar to other already registered trademarks. I know many people who have been trapped while they neglected this step.
For trademark search, you can visit the Intellectual Property website using the link “http://www.ipindia.nic.in/”. A public search option is given on the right side of the page. From different options, select ‘trademarks’.
There are many professional firms and agents offering this service. But, some are exploiting the customers as well by charging huge amount. So, be careful when you appoint one.
Step 2: Trademark application
Trademark application is the second step in the process. Once you have found a unique brand for your business, you can proceed to the trademark application procedures.
Trademark registration application must be made in the prescribed manner and filed along with the fee for trademark registration. You can appoint a trademark agent or a lawyer for the same.
Trademark application should be made at one of the five offices of the Trade Marks Registry located at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Ahmadabad.
It can be done online as well. You can make an application for a trademark on Form TM-A. TM-A form is attached in the link http://www.ipindia.nic.in/writereaddata/Portal/Images/pdf/FORM-TM-A.pdf. 2-3 days will be required for this process.
Step 3: Journal publication
Once your trademark registration application is accepted by the trademark registrar, the registered trademark will be published in the Trademark Journal which is published weekly.
All the trademarks that have been registered and accepted are published in the journal according to the class. Anyone who found your trademark is damaging his or her can object yours within 90 days of publishing.
If no one has filed objections within 90 days of the publication, the mark will typically be registered within 18– 24 months’ time.
Step 4: Trademark registration
This is the final stage of brand registration or logo registration process. The trademark manuscript and trademark registration certificate will be prepared and sent to the trademark application if there is no objection or opposition for your brand registration application.
Once the certificate is produced, you will be granted exclusive use of it as it is considered to be registered trademark by yours. Now you can put the ® symbol next to the logo.
Time Involved and Duration of Trademark
Trademark registration process usually takes at least 1 to 3 Years. However, as soon as application is filed, the applicant can start using the TM symbol.
Trademark can be registered for duration of ten years. You can renew it for a period of another ten years within six months of the due date on payment of the renewal fees.
Trademark Registration Cost
Brand registration process will not cost you much. In case of individual/ startup/ small enterprise, the Government fees is Rs. 4,500/-. The cost would be 9,000/- in all other cases. The fee for a trademark attorney professional is around Rs. 3500/- for each application.
The registration office will check your trademark whether it is unique and if it is already in use a trademark objection will be raised by the office. In such cases, you will need to start the procedure from the first.
To sum up, brand registration or logo registration is very important if you are serious with your business and grow it up unique. You will have to spend just some times for the process, some money which is very affordable and take some precautions in case you are appointing an agent to do the same for you.