What is Trademark Registration?
Trademark is any unique expression related to a product or service that distinguishes it from others. This expression could be a word, slogan, photograph, logo, graphic, colour combination, sound or even smell; however, most businesses are only looking for a brand name registration or logo registration. Owners of trademarks have exclusive rights to their use under the categories they are registered in (there are a total of 45 categories, called classes).
Trademark registration enables owners to easily establish their right to the trademark in court and earn royalties. It also deters piracy and prevents similar company names from being registered by other businesses. You can conduct a trademark search, to check if your brand name clashes with existing trademarks. In India, you could get a ™ within three days, but it takes up to two years for it to be registered so that you can use the ® symbol.
6 Essential Facts on Trademark
What is a trademark?
A trademark is essentially a characteristic of your brand. It could be your brand name, your brand’s logo, or even your brand’s slogan. For example, ‘Nike’, the ‘Swoosh’, or the slogan ‘Just Do It’. In some cases, the brand’s name and logo are combined into one, as in the case of BMW, or Coca-Cola. That is called a Logo Composite Mark.
Who owns a trademark?
A trademark grants you commercial rights to sell a particular brand name in a certain sector of the economy. There are 45 sectors and each sector is called a class. For instance, Class 28 refers to Toys, Games, and Sports. So if you want to protect your toy brand, you need to make an application under Class 28 and get exclusive commercial rights, to sell your brand of toys under that class.
Is my trademark available?
If you have a certain brand name, or a logo, or a slogan in mind, we can do a trademark search for you. A simple way to do this yourself, is to just go online to the internet and check if there is a similar company with a similar name to yours, on the internet. You should also check if the domain name of your brand is available or not.
What if the trademark is taken?
No need to worry. If your trademark brand name is taken, you can prepare a Logo Composite Mark by combining your logo and your name, and apply as one. This is a common strategy used to apply for a trademark, even if the trade name itself has been taken.
What do I need to provide?
You need to give us a signed letter, allowing us to apply for your trademark. This is called an Authorization Letter. Once an Authorization Letter has been received, we prepare your documents, make the application for you online, and pay the necessary fees. Almost instantly, you get a confirmation of the application and you can start using the ™ symbol next to your name.
How long does it take?
The trademark registration application process is done almost instantly. It can be done within a few hours of you giving us your Authorization Letter. The Government, after we make the application, takes 18 to 24 months, to confirm the registration and give you the confirmed Registration Certificate for your trademark. You can then use the ® symbol next to your name.
Advantages of Trademark Registration
If you believe your registered trademark is being infringed, it is easy to establish your right to it in court. If you haven’t registered the word, slogan or logo, you would not be able to do so. Particularly in sectors in which piracy is rampant, trademark registration is essential.
A trademark is an intangible asset that can be enormously valuable, should your brand succeed. Think of Tide, Nike or McDonald’s. Businesses can earn huge money in royalties through licensing agreements or even transfer ownership to interested parties through assignment agreements.
You would want your customers to identify your products or services with yours only. Registering your trademark is the first step toward ensuring this. The court would then stop any similar words or slogans from being registered.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A TRADEMARK?
Any person or business claiming to be owner can apply for a trademark including:
It is preferable that you apply for the trademark as an individual. In a case of a proprietor or company, if you close or change the name of the business, your trademark will become invalid. However, in a case of individual, this problem won’t arise.
Step 1: Trademark search (1 day)
LegalRaasta run a thorough check to make sure that your desired name or design has not already been taken or isn’t too similar to an already existing trademark. You can also check existing trademarks at search.legalraasta.com. Because being exclusive do matters. This check well ensures that are no issues & there are minimal chances of an objection being raised in the future.
Step 2: Create trademark application (1 day)
Once we ensure that your chosen name or design is available & exclusive, we send you an authorisation letter which has to be duly signed by you and returned to us. These letters give our lawyers authority to file a trademark application on your behalf.
Step 3: Trademark application submission (1 day)
Once we receive the authorisation letter & provided that no information is incorrect or partial, our lawyers will file the trademark on your behalf, and you can immediately start using the ™ symbol. We will provide you with the TM application number.
We file the trademark different at the central trademark department office or via online. A trademark can be filed online only by a registered lawyer or agent.
Step 4: Trademark registration (1.5 years)
Once a trademark application is complete, your application will be verified by the trademarks office. The government can also raise an objection on if your name similar to some other trademark in the same class, or the name is deemed obscene, hurts religious sentiments.
In case no objection is raised, the trademark registrar will publish an advertisement in the trademarks journal. If no opposition is filed by any party within a period of 4 months, the trademark should be registered within the next 6 months. During this period, we constantly provide you with updates regarding the status of your application. You will need to pay the additional fee in case of such objections.
Step 5: Hearing before Registrar
If the objection has been filed on your trademark and the opposition doesn’t agree with your response, then hearing is held before the registrar. We appoint lawyers (charges extra) to take up your case in front of the registrar.