Building a brand image is vital to a business’s success. As a matter of fact, companies need to protect their brand names as they reflect the essence of the company as a whole. Basically, the trademark is an invincible armor for the brand name, a branch of Intellectual Property (IP).
Trademarks refer to names, symbols, phrases, logos, and taglines that identify and brand specific products or services, distinguishing them from those of other businesses. Marks are basically shout-outs that tell the public that a particular company (or organization) produces or provides a particular class of goods or services. It is not mandatory for a business to register its trademarks, despite their importance to its intellectual property portfolio. We should be aware of the fact that trademark law in India is governed by the Trademark Act, 1999, and the Trademark Rules 2017.
Who can file a trademark in India?
In accordance with Section 18(1) of the Trademarks Act, 1999, applicants may claim ownership of a trademark themselves. The Registrar of Trademarks must receive written applications or online filings. Individuals are referred to here as “persons” as well as the following entities.
- The Hindu family (HUF) is the major religious group in India.
- Public authorities regulate its affairs.
- Private companies regulate their affairs.
- People together regulate their affairs.
- An LLP regulates its affairs.
- Partners act jointly.
- LLPs are partnerships.
- Companies are private.
- Corporations are public.
- Trustees are private.
- Governmental agencies are public.
- Non-resident Indians, foreigners, or foreign companies are private.
As a result, individual trademark owners can register their own trademarks. However, trademark registration is a complex and time-consuming process that cannot be completed just with filing.
To register a trademark takes time and effort.
Even though trademark registration is not mandatory, it is usually preferred to do so. Business owners may regret not registering their brands if a brand image is stolen, as stealing a brand image can lead to severe reputational damage to a business. Trademark laws govern the registration of trademarks. It may therefore be useful to register the trademark legally.
Here are the ways in which trademarks can be registered.
STEP 1: Research trademarks in your area
While you may already have one of the most unique names for your trademark, it is still a good idea to conduct a trademark search. The method can be used for trademarks that are deceptively similar to other marks.
Secondly, you must file your trademark application.
In India, the trademark application is filed online on the official trademark website once the trademark search is completed.
The trademark application is then examined.
If it passes the examination, the trademark application becomes effective. Discrepancies are raised with the applicant if any exist. The trademark application is published after the disparities are corrected in the trademark journal. Examiners may summon the applicant for a hearing if they feel their application is still defective. A published or rejected application depends on the applicant’s response.
The applicant can object.
The trademark will be published in the journal within three months of the date of publication, after which any interested party may submit an objection. The Registrar determines the fate of the application after hearing the party of opposition and the applicant. The application gets registered if there is no opposition within the stipulated time.
Upon resolving any opposition, if any, the registrar awards the Certificate of Registration. There is an attached seal for the trademark registry.
The next step is to renew the trademark registration.
Once registered, trademarks are valid for a period of 10 years, after which they can be renewed every 10 years. Brand names remain the property of their registered proprietors forever.
Registrants face the following challenges:
1. The risk of being rejected for trademark registration
depends on whether it is rejected on an absolute or relative basis. In order for the trademark to be approved, it must comply with the Trademarks Act, 1999. Individuals without trademark expertise may be unable to perform a comprehensive search, where both word mark and device mark search may be necessary in certain cases. In the process of registering a trademark, the trademark search is the first step. Due to this, if the search isn’t done thoroughly, the trademark might deceptively resemble one of the existing trademarks and will probably be rejected.
2. Registering a Trademark is Complicated:
An application for a TM must include a number of details, including the class of the goods or services. Because there is a fee per course, applicants must specify which courses they wish to include in their application. Students may not be able to register if they select the wrong courses. Disclaimers should also be included in connection with trademarks that contain multiple words in order to broaden their protection. Inexperienced applicants might experience delays in the registration process.
3. Take action on actions taken by the office:
The application must be responded to when objections are raised. In addition to filing the response within the stipulated time frame, the application must also be abandoned if it is not. As a matter of practice, this will most likely not be a one-time thing and may require the filing of several responses, depending on the case.
4. An opposition response is as follows:
In order to oppose an application for trademark registration, the trademark applicant must submit a counterstatement or evidence to support the application. An applicant must attend opposition hearings and present their case at those hearings, if scheduled by the Registrar. It takes years of experience with TM registrations to successfully complete an application. TM registrations involve several technical and legal nuances.
While trademark registration is not as technically challenging or complex as patent registration, it does present its own set of challenges. Although many people believe it to be straightforward, trademark registration is more complicated than it appears. The transition from one stage to the next requires both technical expertise and legal knowledge. In the intricacies of trademark registration, applicants often lack knowledge of how to properly handle objections or oppositions, which may result in their application being rejected.
It is common for applicants to attempt to register their own trademark in order to save on the cost of hiring a professional. The problem is that it often backfires and allows people to re-file the same application multiple times due to mistakes, causing the process to be delayed and to be more expensive.
To ensure trademark registration, a trademark applicant should hire a trademark professional. A competent professional would know what to expect and what to expect during the registration process. VakilSearch’s experts will help you register a trademark in no time, without burning a huge hole in your pocket.
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