Trademark Registration Now Made Simple!

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Setting foot for the first time is the business world? After months of plotting and hundreds of mugs of coffee later, you have finally planned your product, put all the nuts and bolts in place and your business is probably ready to launch. I’m sure you must have already picked a unique name that you believe will make your brand stand out in the business world.

But wait, have your protected your brand against somebody else using it to attract customers without your permission?

If the answer is “Not yet” or “How do I do it?”, here’s what you can do to protect your brand against identity theft. Register your trademark!

What is a Trademark?

Simply put, a trademark is a sign that is used to distinguish the goods or services offered by one’s business from those offered by another business. It is basically a tool of communication that a producer uses to attract customers and to enable them to distinguish his product from other similar goods in the market. For example, if you are a customer looking for Coca-Cola, you can identify it by the unique signature of the brand on a red background, which is a registered trademark, and no other company can use it except Coca-Cola itself.

Before I take you to how you can register a trademark, let’s see what marks can be adopted as a trademark:

  • Letters or numbers or any combination thereof
  • A word that you have coined specially for your business and is not available in the dictionary
  • Monograms
  • Marks constituting a 3-dimensional design
  • Symbols and logos
  • Shape of goods or style of packaging
  • Sound marks that can be described in words or are capable of graphic representation

 

What is essential is that the trademark must be sufficient and capable of distinguishing the products of your business, in relation to which they are being used, from the goods of other businesses.

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Registration of a Trademark

In India, the registration of trademarks is governed by the Trademarks Act of 1999. It lays down the form and procedure for the registration of trademarks. You can follow these easy steps to register your trademark:

 

Step #1: Get these documents ready

Before you start the official process of registration, these are the documents you must keep ready as they have to be submitted with the application:

  1. A soft copy of the image you want to register as a trademark
  2. Date of First use of the mark (if the mark is already in use)
  3. Identity proof and address proof of the proprietor of the mark
  4. In case it is claimed that the mark is already in use in a foreign country, proof of the same has to submitted
  5. Required Fee

 

Step #2: Fill in the Trademark Application Form

Now that you have all the documents ready, the next step is to fill the application form, also known as Form TM-1 (available at http://ipindia.nic.in/tmr_new/first_schedule_forms/TM-1.pdf). The application fee is Rs. 2,500. This can be filed either in the name of the proprietor or the name of the business itself.

 

Don’t forget that while applying for the trademark registration, you also have to specify the class under which you want your product or good to be specified. This classification must be done in accordance with Schedule 4 of the Trademarks Rules, 2002. If your product falls under only one of the categories, you will have to submit a fee of Rs. 3,500 and if it falls under multiple heads, say N, the fee will be Rs. (3500xN).

 

Step #3: Submit the Trademark Application Form

The application form has to be submitted to the Registrar of Trademarks. For this, you have two options: manual filing or e-filing.

 

Manual filing basically means that you will have to submit the application at the office of the Trademarks Registry that corresponds to the principal place of your business. The Trademark registries are located at Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. You will receive the acknowledgement of your submission in approximately 15-20 days after filing the application.

 

A faster option is e-filing, as the acknowledgement is issued in electronic form immediately.

 

Step #4: Examination of the Application

This is where the Registrar of Trademarks assumes responsibility. On receiving the application, he must check if the trademark complies with the law and whether it is actually unique i.e. it must not conflict with already existing trademarks in the market.

 

Step #5: Publication in the Trade Marks Journal

If the Registrar of Trademarks is satisfied upon the examination of your application and approves it, it will be published in the Trade Marks Journal within six months of the acceptance by the Registrar.

 

Step #6: The Trademark Registration Certificate is Yours!

After publication in the Journal, a 90 days period is reserved for anyone who desires to raise an opposition to the grant of the trademark to you, probably because he is already using it. But if there is no opposition, the Registrar issues the Trademark Registration Certificate, to you under the seal of the Trademark registry. Once the certificate is issued to you, the trademark is yours for 10 years. After the expiry of the ten years, if you want to continue using the trademark, you will have to file for a renewal application.

 

Congratulations! You are now the sole owner of your brand name! You can start using the TM or ® along with your brand to tell everyone else, “It’s my brand-name and if you use it without my permission, I’ll take you to court!”

 

On the whole, the entire process takes about 18-24 months from the date of your application and usually costs between Rs. 14,000 to 26,000. But it’s completely worth the wait and the investment. After all, solid legal protection for the identity of your brand is priceless, isn’t it?

Written by : Tania Singla, Associate at GrayScale

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Mohit Bansal(23) is B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. He has interest in business and entrepreneurship and has published couple of research articles. He is also associated with various NGOs. He is with Techaloo when it was just in concept stage. The Techaloo site was not existing even then. Currently Mohit is working with Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst Profile.

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