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Trademark (TM) refers to any mark that is capable of being represented graphically like a symbol, word, sign, etc., and that can distinguish your goods or services from those of others. It may even include the shape of your goods, their packaging, and the combination of colors. It acts as a legal identity for your product or business.
Applicant for TM registration
The owner or proprietor of a TM can apply for registration. This can be an individual, a company, a proprietorship firm, a partnership firm, an LLP, or can also be joint ownership.
Procedure of TM registration
TM registration is for a period of 10 years from the date of registration but may be renewed from time to time. The renewal is for a period of 10 years from the date of expiration of the original registration or of the last renewal of registration.
Steps and timelines for trademark registration in India
Before applying for registration you can ensure that the mark chosen has not been used before, i.e., there are no similar names or duplicates. You can use the website, https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/tmrpublicsearch/frmmain.aspx# to make the search and to find out whether the mark is one of a kind.
You as the owner of a trademark being used or proposed to be used by you shall apply in writing to the Registrar for the registration of your trademark.
The TM application is examined by the TM Office and objections, if any, are raised. If no objections are raised then the TM then you directly go to the 5th stage – Advertisement.
Within 2-4 months from the date of filing
Response to the examination report
If you fail to submit your response within the timeline then your application is “deemed to have been abandoned” by you. If the examiner is satisfied with your response then you go to the next stage – Advertisement. If not, then you’d be offered a show cause hearing.
1 month from the date of receiving the examination report
When the TM application is accepted by the examiner, such application along with the acceptance and conditions, if any, is advertised in the TM journal.
Once advertised, the TM is open to the public for the opposition. Anyone who doesn’t think that you have the right to own such a registered TM may raise opposition. If no opposition is filed within the timeline, then you go to the next stage – Registration.
3 + 1 months
If there’s no opposition within the mentioned timeline then your application will proceed to registration and the TM Registry will offer you a TM Registration Certificate.
If registration is not complete within 12 (twelve) months from the date of application due to default from your end, the Registrar may, after sending you a notice, treat the application as abandoned unless it is completed within the time specified in the notice.
Within 4 months from the date of advertisement in the TM journal
Why do you need TM registration?
- Proof of ownership
A registration certificate is the biggest proof of your proprietary rights over your TM.
- Better protection from misuse
Even though TM registration is not mandatory in India, it ensures greater protection from infringement and misuse of your TM. You can protect your goodwill as no one would be able to pass off their goods/ services as yours.
- Permanent protection
You have the option of renewing your TM registration every 10 years.
- Unique TM and unique identity
A registered TM means that there are no similar TMs existing in the market. It also means that your competitors cannot use similar TMs in the future as you have a legal claim over your TM.
- Foreign TM filing
If you wish to expand your business to other countries, a registered TM simplifies the process of foreign TM registration and increases your chances of registration.
- Protection from legal, financial, and market losses
Non-registration of TM can open the gates for litigation from registered owners. You might face huge losses even if you are a prior user of the TM.
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Are you one of these?
- A young startup looking to establish your brand
- A business looking to increase your brand value
- A business owner with a unique logo, slogan, tagline and/ or brand name