Let’s assume you designed a logo for your company and came up with a tagline for your business, and employed this logo and slogan for your business promotion.
However, you might have concerns that someone else might profit from it; how can you put these to rest? Have you ever observed how many various symbols, marks, and characters are all around you? The McDonald’s symbol (the yellow M), the Apple mark, the Starbucks logo, and the Nike Swoosh are prime examples.
Trademarks play a major role in ensuring that your brand identity remains safe and your logo and tagline can only be used by you. They are the legal rights granted to someone who has designed a logo, symbol, or phrase for their company.
Trademarks are a sort of intellectual ownership that recognizes labels, designs, and slogans that you can use to make any product or service unique after you get yourself an MSME registration.
How to register for a trademark online?
Building a brand takes a lot of time, effort, and quite a bit of money. As a result, it is crucial to ensure that you possess the right to use the logo, tagline, product shape and packing, sound, fragrance, color schemes, and anything else that gives your brand a peculiar character.
In India, you can acquire a trademark under the Trademark Act of 1999. It allows exclusive property ownership and prevents others from using the mark, benefiting the authorized mark’s owner. Logo registration can get done quickly and easily online.
Also, as soon as the application gets filed, you can start using the “TM” symbol. The trademark registration process, on the other hand, can take up to 15-18 months. It entails several procedures for confirming the mark’s actual ownership.
In addition, in India, trademark registration is undergoing several modifications. Given this evolution, trademarks for unique music labels are now available, allowing even a unique sound to get claimed by the artist.
Listed below are some of the most important factors to consider when registering a trademark in India:
Classification of trademarks
There are 45 classes of trademarks designated based on commercial activity, and businesses can register trademarks in various categories depending on their needs.
Assets of significant value
A trademark works like a company’s tangible asset and remains immensely significant to prevent the counterfeiting of goods and services.
Trademark registration fees
Any individual, business, or legal body can own a trademark. Also, given the massive competition and ongoing digitalization, numerous companies apply for a trademark on goods packaging or the product itself. There will be separate fees for certain components like a series of marks and connected symbols, and the officials will collect fees for each category.
Also, the fee for filing a single trademark is INR 2500 for each category, while filing for a collective trademark is INR 10000. In addition, you must note that numerous applications get rejected if you are licensing an already existing mark/logo. Therefore, it is preferable to engage a professional to handle your trademark registration process.
Various third parties or competitors level claims against commercial firms seeking registration for using similar logos or emblems.
Also, keep in mind that even if your application gets approved for comparable marks, it will end in an infringement of intellectual property rights. You will have to pay a fine that ranges between INR 8000 to INR 10,000.
Understanding the trademark registration process
Mentioned hereunder are some steps involved in the trademark registration process.
A trademark search informs you whether there are identical trademarks available and provides you with an accurate picture of where your mark stands, and may also familiarise you with the risk of trademark prosecution.
Many business owners remain oblivious of the significance of a trademark search. Having a well-defined brand idea in mind is not sufficient to blatantly ignore a TM search.
Registration for a trademark
You can register your selected brand name or logo after ensuring no previous registrations for your selected trademark with the Trademark Registry India. The first step is to apply for a trademark with the Trademark Registry India.
Nowadays, most paperwork can be filed online; also, following the submission of the application, an official acknowledgment is presented for future reference.
Following the filing of a trademark application, the inspector reviews it for any irregularities. The evaluation might take between 12 and 18 months. The examiner may accept the trademark unconditionally, conditionally, or objectively.
Also, if the mark gets approved unequivocally, it is registered in the trademark journal. In addition, you must note that if there are any objections to your submitted trademark or if it does not get approved, you will get an assessment report, and you will have to submit a response within one month.
The publishing step is incorporated in the registration process so that anyone who opposes the trademark registration is free to do the same. If there is no opposition within 3-4 months after publication, the trademark is registered. If there is resistance, the registrar holds a fair hearing and makes a decision.
The trademark can get renewed indefinitely after every ten years. As a result, your trademark or brand name license remains safeguarded in perpetuity.
What are the different types of trademark status?
Mentioned hereunder are different types of trademark statuses:
When the status is ‘New Application,’ it signifies that the request has just been received and will get reviewed further. It is the application’s preliminary step that needs to get thoroughly examined.
Pass the formalities test
This trademark stage signifies that the trademark registry has approved all of the early materials supplied with the application. In other words, there are no issues with the documents that got submitted so far.
Marked for exam
If your submitted trademark passes a formalities check after a preliminary round of inspection, it will move to a trademark analyst. The analyst will evaluate all the papers and the application to verify the request is complete in all aspects.
If a trademark is not utilized for five years after the trademark registration certificate is issued, or if the owner fails to extend the trademark registration, it can get a ‘Removed’ status.
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Trademark Registration – FAQs
Step by step procedure to register a trademark
Step 1: To search for a trademark
Step 2: To file the trademark application
Step 3: Examination of the trademark application by the government authority
Step 4: Post-examination
Step 6: Opposition from the general public
Step 7: Registration of the trademark
The government fees for trademark registration are Rs. 9000 per application per class for the company. The government fees for trademark registration is Rs. 4500 per application per class for an individual.
A trademark protects a company’s brand and a wrong step by a company can derail the registration process and lead to cancellation or revocation of one’s trademark rights. However, it is completely understandable to decide on self-filing of trademark, since the process looks easy and completely doable.
Anyone whose logo identifies a business or profession should seriously consider trademark protection. Once you establish your trademark, the legal mark lasts forever. Just make sure to keep up with registration renewals at the five and ten-year marks.
You can not register a trademark for free. However, you can establish something known as a “common law trademark” for free, simply by opening for business.
No. You do not need an attorney to file an application for the registration of a trademark.