A visual symbol, Trademark can be a name, word, device, numeral, or label used by a company to distinguish its goods and services from the similar goods and services from other businesses. It is an intangible asset for a business and is used to protect the business’s investment in the symbol or brand. Trademark registration is a process for registering the good or service as distinct from the others.
Notably, similar trademarks cannot be registered. Also, generic, offensive, deceptive, protected emblems, etc. cannot be registered. In India, the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India registers the trademark. Trademarks are registered under the Trademark Act, 1999. It also provides the trademark owner to sue for damages when infringement of a trademark occurs.
After the trademark registration, the R symbol ® can be used, which is valid for ten years. After that period, the owner has to renew the trademark, if he wants. Renewal of a trademark can be done easily by applying online or offline.
How to apply for Trademark Registration Online in India?
Trademark registration can be obtained for logo, words, numerals, device, slogan, etc. in India. It provides the legal and exclusive right to the owner to use the mark. Nevertheless, trademark registration is a long process that involves several steps. Let’s take a look at the trademark registration process in India.
The business owner should first conduct a trademark search from the trademark database before beginning the process for trademark registration. It will provide information related to a similar or identical trademark that is already filled with the registry. The business owner can search for a trademark on the Trademark Registrar Website.
Once the search is completed, the business owner can apply with the Trademark registrar. Notably, the application should be in the same manner as prescribed by the registrar and filed along with the trademark registration fee. The application can be filed at one of the five Trademark Registrar offices online or offline. The application should have the following information:
- Trademark or logo
- Name and address of the business/trademark owner
- Trademark class or classification
- Trademark used since the date
- Description of the products and services
Trademark Application Allotment
Once the application is filed, an allotment number would be provided within a couple of days. The business owner can track the trademark application online through the Online Trademark Search Facility. After receiving the allotment number, the trademark owner can start affixing the TM symbol on the logo.
The Vienna Codification or classification is established by the Vienna Agreement (1973). It is an international classification of the elements of the marks. Once the trademark registration form is filed, the registrar will apply for the Vienna Codification. While this process is in progress, the trademark registration status will show “Sent for Vienna Codification.”
Once Vienna Classification is done, the trademark application will be sent to the Trademark Officer in the Trademark Registrar Office. The trademark officer would review the application form for correctness, if any, and issue the trademark examination report. The Trademark Officer has the right to accept the application and allow it for journal publication or reject the application.
If the application is objected by the officer, the business owner or applicant can appear before the Trademark Officer and address the objection. However, the application is accepted and published in the journal only if the Trademark Officer is satisfied with the justification of the applicant. And if the Officer is still not satisfied with the justification, the applicant has the right to appeal before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
Trademark Journal Publication
Once the application is accepted, the proposed trademark is published in the Trademark Journal, which is published weekly. It contains all the trademarks accepted by the Trademark Registrar in India. Once it is published, the public has an opportunity to object the trademark registration, if they believe their registration is damaged. However, if no objections are filed within 90 days of the publication, the mark will be registered within 2-4 weeks.
Notably, if the application is opposed by a third-party, hearing will be called before the Trademark Hearing Officer. Both the trademark applicant or business owner and the third-party will appear at the hearing and have a chance to present their evidence. The last decision whether the registration will be accepted or not would be taken by the Trademark Hearing Officer. Significantly, the final decision of the Trademark Hearing Officer can be challenged to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.
If on objections are filed for the Trademark, the Trademark certificate and manuscript would be prepared and sent to the Trademark Applicant. Once the Trademark Registration is issued, the trademark would be considered registered with the authority. It will grant the applicant the exclusive right to use the mark. The R symbol ® can be placed next to the trademark or logo.