What is Trademark?
Trademark is an unique sign that makes your brand a distinct entity. These signs can be a name, logo, symbol, device, label, numeral, heading, label, ticket, signature, graphics, photographs, shape and packaging of goods, monograms, 3 dimensional shapes, colour combinations or any other mark on goods and services that distinguish it from those of others.
They are classified as Intellectually property, hence protected by the law. The Trademarks act, 1999 along with the Trade Marks Rules, 2017 govern any dispute arising out of Trademarks infringement. The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry administer protection of trademarks.
You must be able to represent your mark graphically in paper form. Most importantly, It should be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of others.
Why register your trademarks?
- Exclusive ownership
- In order to have exclusive ownership rights of your unique mark on products and services and restrict third-parties from usage and benefits.
- Exercise legal rights
- The Trademarks act 1999 along with the Trade Marks Rules, 2017 protect you from any infringement.
- Prevent third party misuse
- Registering your trademarks also prevents third parties from copying, misrepresenting, misusing other products with your marks.
- Brand Value & Goodwill
- In addition, Trademarks increase brand value, reliability, quality and goodwill of the company.
- Intangible Assets
- Trademarks act as intangible assets which can be contracted, franchised, distributed and can also be sold.
Who can apply for trademarks?
An Individual, Partnership Firm, Body-incorporate including Private Limited/limited Company, Limited Liability Partnership, Society, Trust, Government Department, Statutory Organisation, Association of persons, Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) and/or any person claiming to be the proprietor of a trademark used or proposed to be used by him can apply for a trademark.
Validity of Trademarks
Trademarks do not have a definite limitation period, however a trademark registration expires after 10 years. It is renewable at the end of 10 years for another 10 years. Additionally, There is no limitation to the trademark renewal process and can be done indefinitely.
- R Symbol
- Using the ® symbol indicates that your trademark has been registered.
- Trademarks who have successfully applied with the trademark registry but is unregistered use the TM symbol. Using the TM symbol indicates the fact that a trademark application exists with respect to the trademark. It also serves as a warning for infringers and counter-fitters.
- SM Symbol
- The service industry, specifically for service mark applications use ‘SM’ or Service Mark symbol. Applications filed under class 35-45 use the SM symbol. Using the TM symbol for all classes or using a SM mark for application under class 35-45 are both acceptable.
Any mark that is identical or deceptively similar to an existing registered trademark or a trademark for which the application for registration is already in process cannot be registered. Also, a mark that would likely cause a deception or confusion, or that appears offensive may not be registered. Geographical names, common names, common trade words and common abbreviation are also not registrable.
The registration application filed under the Trademark Act, 1999 is verified and registered in India and it remains valid only in India.
Yes, a foreign person or a foreign entity can also apply for trademark registration in India.