Trademark Registration

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Trademark-Registration-Process

Trademark Registration in India

Trademark registration in India is essential for entrepreneurs or companies aiming to safeguard their brand. A trademark is a unique sign that is used to recognize goods and services from a specific individual/company. A Trademark can be in the form of pictures, designs, words or even expressions. A trademark is considered an essential object as it helps differentiate your products from other competitors and gives an identity to your products and services.

What can and cannot be Registered as a Trademark?

The Trademark laws provide absolute and relative grounds for refusal of a Trademark Application. For a trademark to be registrable, it must be distinctive in nature, i.e., it must be capable of distinguishing goods and services of one from another. Descriptive words are not registrable unless they have acquired secondary meaning. Marks which are similar to existing marks, or has potential to mislead the public, are not registrable. Marks likely to hurt religious sentiments or considered immoral by a section of the Citizens are also not registrable.

If the mark contains scandalous and obscene matters, it cannot be registered. Marks containing exclusively of kind, quality, geographical origin of the goods and services cannot be registered as well.

Who can Apply for Trademark Registration in India?

The list of individuals and entities who can apply for trademark registration certificates is as follows:-

  • Owner or Joint owners of a business
  • LLPs (Limited Liability Partnerships)
  • Proprietorship firms
  • Foreign Businesses
  • Societies
  • Trusts
  • Partnership Firms
  • Indian Companies
  • Startups and Small Enterprises

Trademark registration gives brands a sense of security, which helps them execute their business more confidently.

Required Documents and Details for Trademark Registration in India

The necessary documents for trademark registration are listed below:-

1. Applicant's Details

  • Name of the Applicant- Identity proof such as a PAN Card, Aadhar Card, etc.
  • Address of the Applicant- Address proofs like Aadhar Card, electricity bill, gas bill, etc.
  • Nationality of the Applicant.
  • If the application is for a business, then a certificate of incorporation and business registration is needed.

2. Trademark Details

Detailed information on how the trademark will be used for goods and services of a business, as per the class of the services/goods.

3. Power of Attorney

A signed Form TM-48 or power of attorney is required in case the trademark is being filed by a trademark agent or attorney.

4. User Affidavit

If the trademark has been in use prior to the application, an affidavit stating the date of first use, along with the evidence for such use, is to be submitted.

5. Legal Entity Proof

When a business applies for a trademark, they have to produce a registration certificate or business incorporation certificate as legal entity proof.

6. Authorization Letter

When the application is filed with the help of an authorized agent or representative, then an authorization letter on the company's letterhead is also required for a Trademark Application to be filed.

7. Objective of the Business

A summarized form of the business's objectives regarding trademark registration is also required. The objective includes what the business stands for and does in its operations.

8. Logo/ Slogan/ Brand

Any logo, slogan, or brand name for which you wish to receive a trademark has to be filed clearly and without discrepancies

9. Business Address Proof

Proof of the business's address must be submitted with an application for trademark registration.

In addition to this, here is a list of all the necessary papers required by different business entities for the process of trademark registration.

Private Limited Company

Here is the list of necessary papers required for trademark registration by a Private Limited Company

  • Incorporation Certificate
  • Brand Name, Logo, Tagline
  • Company PAN Card
  • MSME Certificate, etc.

Limited Liability Partnerships

Here is the list of necessary documents required for trademark registration by a Limited Liability Partnership.

  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Deed
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • LLP PAN Card
  • Brand Name/ Logo/ Tagline

Trusts

Here is the list of necessary papers required for trademark registration by a trust.

  • Trust PAN Card
  • Trust Deed
  • Logo/ Name/ Tagline

Partnership Firms

Here is the list of necessary papers required for trademark registration by a Partnership Firm.

  • MSME Certificate
  • Partnership Deed
  • Partnership PAN Card
  • Logo/Name/Tagline

Sole Proprietorship Firm

Here is the list of necessary papers required for trademark registration by a Proprietorship Firm or a proprietor.

  • GST Number
  • PAN Card
  • Aadhar Card
  • Logo/Name/Tagline

What is the Trademark Filing Process in India?

The process of trademark registration in India is a systematic procedure governed by the Trade Marks Act of 1999 and the Trademarks Rules of 2003 and 2017. The procedure involves several steps. Now that we know the necessary documents that are required for the filing of trademarks, let’s take a look at the process of trademark registration.

1. Trademark Search

When a person wishes to file a trademark, it is always advised that a thorough and comprehensive search for the trademark is done to ensure that the trademark is unique and has not been in use by a third party. This step is particularly essential if a person wishes to have a smooth Trademark Registration Process and avoid any legal repercussions in the future.

2. Filing the Application

The next step is to file the Trademark application. The application for trademark registration is submitted to the Trademark Registry. It includes details about the applicant, a graphical representation of the trademark, and a description of the class of goods or services associated with the trademark.

3. Examination by the Trademark Office

In order to ensure all the legal compliance and requirements are met, the Trademark office examines the application to make sure that there is no conflict involved with an already existing Trademark and that the absolute grounds of refusal do not apply to it. If the Trademark Registry finds that the mark is not registerable, it will issue an objection, and the applicant will have to file a reply to the objections within one month, or the application will be considered abandoned.

4. Trademark Objection

Once the trademark is applied for registration, it can be objected by the examiner on various grounds. It happens during the initial stage of the trademark registration process. An objection raised by the examiner does not mean rejection of the Trademark Application. By way of raising objection, the registrar seeks further clarification or explanations about the legal validity of the trademark. When an objection is raised by the examiner, the status of your Trademark Application will show as ‘Objected’.

When the objection is received, the applicant must file a comprehensive reply, supported by legal precedents, within a month, or the application will be deemed abandoned.

5. Publication in the Trademarks Journal

Once the Trademark application clears the examination stage, it is published in the Trademark Journal. If any third party wishes to file an opposition to the trademark, they can do so within four months from the date the registration application is advertised in the trademark journal by giving a notice in Form TM-O and paying fees to the Trademark Registry.

6. Opposition Proceedings

In case of opposition, evidence is submitted by the opposer and the applicant. The parties may also request a hearing, and the Registrar makes a decision to either register the trademark or dismiss the application based on the arguments and evidence presented.

7. Registration Certificate

When the process is complete, the trademark registry issues a Trademark Registration Certificate. With the issuance of a Trademark Registration certificate, the Proprietor of the Trademark gets an exclusive right to use the Trademark in relation to the Goods or Services in respect of which the Trademark is registered.

8. Trademark Renewal

A trademark registration remains valid for ten years from the date of registration but may be renewed from time to time. Renewals should be filed before the date of expiry of the trademark.

List of Different Trademark Classes in India

In India, trademarks are categorized into 45 classes based on the Nice Classification system. Each class represents a distinct category of goods and services. Following is the list of different Trademark Classes in India.

Goods Classes (1-34):

Class 1. Chemicals used in industry, science, and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture, and forestry.

Class 2. Paints, varnishes, lacquers, and preservatives for wood and metal.

Class 3. Cosmetics and cleaning preparations, including soaps and perfumes.

Class 4. Industrial oils and greases; lubricants; fuels; candles and wicks.

Class 5. Pharmaceuticals and other preparations for medical or veterinary purposes.

Class 6. Common metals and their alloys; metal building materials; transportable buildings of metal; materials of metal for railway tracks.

Class 7. Machines and machine tools; motors and engines (except for land vehicles); machine coupling and transmission components (except for land vehicles).

Class 8. Hand tools and implements (hand-operated); cutlery; side arms; razors.

Class 9. Scientific, nautical, surveying, electric, photographic, cinematographic, optical, weighing, measuring, signaling, checking (supervision), life-saving, and teaching apparatus and instruments.

Class 10. Surgical, medical, dental, and veterinary apparatus and instruments; artificial limbs, eyes, and teeth; orthopedic articles.

Class 11. Apparatus for lighting, heating, steam generating, cooking, refrigerating, drying, ventilating, water supply, and sanitary purposes.

Class 12. Vehicles; apparatus for locomotion by land, air, or water.

Class 13. Firearms; ammunition and projectiles; explosives; fireworks.

Class 14. Precious metals and their alloys; jewelry, precious and semi-precious stones; horological and chronometric instruments.

Class 15. Musical instruments.

Class 16. Paper, cardboard, and goods made from these materials; printed matter; bookbinding material; photographs; stationery; adhesives for stationery or household purposes; artists’ materials; paintbrushes; typewriters and office requisites.

Class 17. Rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica, and goods made from these materials; plastics in extruded form for use in manufacture; packing, stopping, and insulating materials; flexible pipes, tubes, and hoses, not of metal.

Class 18. Leather and imitations of leather; animal skins, hides; trunks and traveling bags; umbrellas, parasols, and walking sticks; whips, harness, and saddlery.

Class 19. Building materials (non-metallic); non-metallic rigid pipes for building; asphalt, pitch, and bitumen; non-metallic transportable buildings; monuments, not of metal.

Class 20. Furniture, mirrors, picture frames; goods (not included in other classes) of wood, cork, reed, cane, wicker, horn, bone, ivory, whalebone, shell, amber, mother-of-pearl, meerschaum, and substitutes for all these materials, or of plastics.

Class 21. Household or kitchen utensils and containers; combs and sponges; brushes (except paintbrushes); brush-making materials; articles for cleaning purposes; unworked or semi-worked glass (except glass used in building); glassware, porcelain, and earthenware not included in other classes.

Class 22. Ropes, string, nets, tents, awnings, tarpaulins, sails, sacks, and bags (not included in other classes); padding and stuffing materials (except of rubber or plastics); raw fibrous textile materials.

Class 23. Yarns and threads for textile use.

Class 24. Textiles and textile goods, not included in other classes; bed and table covers.

Class 25. Clothing, footwear, headgear.

Services Classes (35-45):

Class 35. Advertising and business management; business administration; office functions.

Class 36. Insurance; financial affairs; monetary affairs; real estate affairs.

Class 37. Building construction; repair; installation services.

Class 38. Telecommunications.

Class 39. Transport; packaging and storage of goods; travel arrangement.

Class 40. Treatment of materials.

Class 41. Education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.

Class 42. Scientific and technological services; industrial analysis and research services; design and development of computer hardware and software.

Class 43. Services for providing food and drink; temporary accommodation.

Class 44. Medical services; veterinary services; hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; agriculture, horticulture, and forestry services.

Class 45. Legal services; security services for the protection of property and individuals; personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals.

Different Types of Trademark Registrations in India

There are various forms and categories of Trademarks; here is a list of all the major trademarks recognized in India.

1. Word Marks

When a trademark consists of numbers, words or letters, they are known as word marks. A word mark is used to recognize a brand through a specific combination of letters, numerals, etc.

2. Device Marks

Device marks involve the use of logos, symbols, emblems, or any other geographical representation that serves as a distinctive sign of the brand. These marks often include stylized designs.

3. Combination Marks

A combination mark included both words and graphical attributes in the design. This kind of trademark generally deals with creative graphics along with brand names in distinctive fonts.

4. Service Marks

They are essential to differentiate between a service and a tangible good associated with a brand. This kind of trademark is given to businesses that provide services to their customers.

5. Shape or Goods or Packaging

Trademarks can also be registered for the shape of goods or their packaging. This is common in industries where the shape of the product or its packaging is distinctive and associated with a specific brand.

6. Sound Marks

They are used to represent the sounds associated with a brand. The sounds can be in the form of jingles, tunes, etc., that helps a customer recognize a brand.

7. Color Marks

These types of trademarks are used to distinguish a brand with the help of colours by using colours as a distinctive feature of a brand.

8. 3D Marks

3D or three-dimensional marks are trademarks that include the configuration or shape of the goods. It is generally given to a good with a unique shape that is not commonly witnessed in the market.

9. Collective Trademarks

Collective marks are trademarks used by members of an association or a group to indicate a common origin of goods and services. These are often used by organizations or cooperatives.

10. Certification Marks

Certification Marks are used to certify that the goods and services are as per the set standards by the regulators. These are given by certifying authorities like BIS, ISI, etc.

Copyright vs Trademarks vs Patents

Given below is the table that throws light on the key areas along with basic points of differentiation between copyrights, trademarks, and patents-

Area

Copyright

Trademarks

Patents

Protection Scope

Creative Works

Brands/Logos

Inventions/Ideas

Duration of Protection

Lifetime + 60 Years

Renewed Indefinitely

Limited Time

Application Process

Simple Application

Registration Process

Complex Process

Nature of Rights

Exclusive Reproduction

Exclusive Brand Use

Exclusive Invention Use

Purpose

Protects Artistic Expression

Identifies Goods/Services

Protects Inventions/Processes