What is Trademark?

Trademark is one part of IPR i.e., intangible assets and an essential asset of an entity/ individual. It symbolizes a mark in trade and identifies the brand owner of a product or service. It is basically a brand or logo that an individual use to differentiate his service/ goods from those of others. Trademark can be a word, logo, symbol, label, shape, smell and combination of colours etc. which acts as a source indicator and refers to the origin of goods or services. The legal definition of Trademark is defined under Section 2(1) (zb) in Trade Marks Act 1999.

What are different types of trademarks that may be registered in India?

Word Mark: Word Mark means a name written as a text, a word, a letter or group of letters, and numerals are the most common forms of word marks.
Device Mark: Device Mark includes any logos, combination of words, pictures or drawings. A logo can be a design which is used as a mark for marketing of the respective goods or services; but the device must be explanatory or elaborative.
Collective Mark: It is used to inform the public about certain distinguished features of a product or service used to be represent by a collective group or association of persons.
Shape Mark: The trademark is to protect the shape or packaging of the product manufactured so that the customers find it related to a particular manufacturer and prefer to buy the product based on it.
Sound Mark: It specially refers to composed sounds, musical notes or any other sounds that are used to identify a particular goods or services. It represents that a particular sound is associated with a product or service originating from a certain supplier.

What does and ® indicate and when it can be used by an enterprise or individual?

The indicates that the Trademark Application is still pending and it has not been certified by the Registry office yet; whereas, ‘®’ indicates that the Trademark is registered and provides the applicant with complete ownership and legal rights over the Trademark.

What is Trademark Registration?

It is a legal procedure provided under the Trade Marks Act, 1999. This Trademark Registration helps an entity to protect their brand, logo or device by restricting others from using the same.

What are all documents required for Trademark Registration?

The followings are certain documents which are required for trademark registration process:

• soft copy of the trademark
• Identity Proof
• Address Proof
• Citizenship of India
• Business Registration (In case ofCompany / LLP)
• Address Proof of the Company
• Incorporation Certificate
• Shop / enterprise Establishmentlicense (In case of Partnership Deed)
• The Partnership Deed

What all can be registered as trademarks?

The following marks can be registered under the Indian Trademark Law: Invented/ Coined Words, Combination of Colors, Shape of goods, Sound Mark, Three Dimensional Mark, sound and smell, as well as domain names can be registered as a Trademark under the Indian Trademark Law.

What all cannot be registered as trademarks?

A trademark should have one basic thing for registration process, i.e. uniqueness, which enables to create a brand identity for a product. In general, there are some marks which cannot be registered such as Generic Terms, surnames of a person, terms which are prohibited under names and emblems act cannot be trademarked; names of constitutional posts or any governmental posts, the names of cities or country, name of any God or Goddess or any religious book, and the words which signify illegal or immortal acts and all other marks as specified under the act cannot be registered as a trademark.

Is Trademark Registration mandatory in India?

No, the Registration of a Trademark is not compulsory; but, it is the primary evidence of a company or an individual to their proprietorship of the trademark under registration. It helps to protect brand and goodwill of goods and services and it makes convenient to customers to recognize the product by the name of the Trademark itself.

Can a person apply for trademark registration before starting company/business?

Yes, you may apply for trademark registration before starting your company. You may register the trademark in your name. The registration can be referred to the company at a later stage. Alternatively, a license may be granted to the company to use the trademark, without referring to the registration of the company.

Are the trademark registrations valid all across the world or not?

No, trademark registration is not valid across the world. Your Indian trademark registration is valid only in India. If you want to register your trademark in other countries, you have to apply for trademark registration in that particular country. Generally, large companies with business in multiple countries apply for trademark registration in multiple countries.

Can a foreign proprietor apply for registration of trademark in India?

Yes, foreign proprietors are also allowed to apply for registration of a trademark in India. The trademark law is TRIPS obedient and provides for protection of well-known trademarks and recognizes trans-border reputation.

What are the grounds for refusal on which a mark can be objected or opposed by either Registry or any other third party?

A Trademark can be refused under two grounds:
Relative Refusal Grounds: These grounds are mentioned under Section 11 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. It includes that the trademark is similar, deceptively similar or identically similar to either earlier registered trademark or similarity to an earlier trademark and the identity or similarity of the goods and services, etc.
Absolute Refusal Grounds: These grounds are mentioned under Section 9 of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. It includes when the mark is devoid of any distinctive character, trademark consists of marks which designate the geographical origins, quantity values, time or production of goods and services, or the trademark is of such nature that causes confusion and that can easily deceive customers or public, etc.

What is the term of registration of a trademark in India?

The term of the registration of a trademark in India is 10 years; thereafter, an application can be filed for renewal, and the Registry examines the application at the trademark renewal stage as well; the application can be filed in respect of the time; and also whether it is filed by the same proprietor of the mark on records or by a new proprietor.

What is the Fees Structure for trademark registration?

The government fees details for registration of trademark are:

• Where applicant is individual/startup/small enterprise the fees for E-filing would be 4500, whereas for the physical filing fees would be 5000.
• In all other cases fees for E-filing would be 9000 and for physical filing fees would be 10000.

Can a numeral value be filed for trademark?

Yes, a person can trademark a number, but the person has to use that number as a brand for his/her goods and services. It must be unique and capable of identifying the product or service from one person to another.

Can a person register a logo as a trademark in India when a similar trademark is already registered in any foreign country?

Yes, because the trademarks are territorial in nature; but if that foreign proprietor have same logo registered in India, then it will not be possible to register the same logo.