Trademarks are the unique and distinctive mark (phrase, logo, symbol, design, combination of colors, etc) that help the average consumer in identifying goods and services provided by a particular brand or company. A trademark helps differentiate the goods/services of a company from its competitors, while also adding goodwill to the brand and creating a loyal customer base. It is important to register your trademark to enjoy the protection provided under Trademark Act, 1999 especially when trademark registration online services are provided which make the trademark registration process fast, easy and convenient.
Trademark Registration For Startups
The trademark registration for startups is similar to the process for trademark registration online for any other company, organization, firm, etc. However, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce, has provided a 50% concession in the statutory fee required to be paid for trademark registration online to promote trademark registration online for startups
Documents For Trademark Registration
Trademark registration for startups or other kinds of organizations require the below stated documents to be furnished along with the application for trademark registration online
1. Copy of logo – A copy of the logo, symbol, design, etc which is to be protected by the trademark is to be uploaded on the trademark registration online portal either in jpeg or png format.
2. Proof of registration of business – One of the most important documents for trademark registration is the proof of registration of business. This may vary according to the type of business organization. For instance, trademark registration for startups requires them to provide either an incorporation certificate or Udyog Aadhar registration certificate, if the startup is registered as an MSME, for partnership firms an incorporation deed may be required for the trademark registration online process.
The nature of the business should be described along with the documents for trademark registration. This includes providing a brief description of the business activity being carried under the brand name or logo for which protection is sought through trademark registration. This helps identify the correct class of the business.
3. Signed Form 48 – Form 48 is an authorization from the applicant to a Trademark Attorney for filing the trademark application on his/her behalf for the trademark registration online process.
4. Identity proof of the applicant – In addition to the above-required documents for trademark registration online, the applicant must provide identity proof including, without limitation, driver’s license, aadhar card, passport.
5. Address proof of the applicant – The applicant must also provide proof of his place of residence by furnishing an address proof for trademark registration online.
Process Of Trademark Registration
1. Application may be submitted through the e-filing module or the trademark registration online process including the documents for trademark registration.
2. After submission, the application is queued for examination, which includes examination of:
(a) Classification of goods or services;
(b) Relative ground of refusal of registration;
(c) Absolute grounds for refusal of registration;
(d) Series mark.
3. After the examination is completed, an examination report is furnished to the applicant with or without objections as per law.
4. If no objections are recorded as per law and the application is approved, the next step is publication. The trademark is published in the Trade Mark Journal to make the application public. Any person may file an opposition against the published trademark within 4 months.
5. If any objections are raised, the applicant is required to provide a response within one month.
6. On receiving the response, the authorised officer scrutinizes the application and the raised objection, and the application is either accepted or rejected after giving the applicant an opportunity of being heard.
7. If after publication, no objection is raised within the prescribed period of 4 months from the date of publication, a registration certificate is issued to the applicant within three weeks from the expiration of the 4 month wait period.
8. Although, if the application is objected by any person within 4 months of publication in the Trade Marks Journal, the objection is required to be disposed of in accordance with the procedure of the court of law.
Importance Of Trademark Registration
1. Protection of brand: Registration of a trademark is necessary to seek protection under the Trademark Act, 1999. A registered trademark establishes ownership over the mark, logo, symbol, or design. It further protects the brand from unauthorized misuse by a third party.
2. Building a unique identity: It takes time to build a brand. Having a registered trademark gives you a proprietary right to use the mark registered under the registered class. A brand that has a unique identity must be registered as every business needs a brand or logo that stands out and to build goodwill, which differentiates the brand from that of its competitors. Hence, a registered trademark gives a unique identity to the brand.
3. Intangible Asset: Having a registered trademark increases the value of the business as it is a valuable, intangible asset which keeps appreciating over time as the business scales its operations.
4. Protection against infringement: Under the Trademark Act, a registered trademark becomes a legally protected asset. Hence, empowering the owner to challenge the unauthorized use of a similar or confusing brand name, and stop unauthorized third parties from using the particular mark.
5. Perpetual Existence
Once a trademark is registered, the protection granted to the registered trademark is perpetual, and not limited to a certain period, subject to renewal every 10 years.
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Frequently Asked Questions For Trademark Registration
When can I use the ™ symbol?
The ™ symbol can be used by business entities on the successful filing of the application. This symbol indicates that the trademark registration application is pending.
What if someone has a similar word trademarked?
To avoid such a situation, the best practice is to perform an in-depth trademark research to identify any previously existing similar marks.
If a similar trademark is filed in the class of goods and services as the existing one, the application may get rejected. However, if it is filed in a different class, the application may get accepted.
Should I file the trademark in my own name?
For an individual, the trademark should be filed in their own name. For organisations, and startups, the trademark should be filed in the name of the entity.
When should you trademark a startup?
After registering the startup and obtaining an Udyog Aadhar Certificate, the trademark registration application should be filed. The Udyog Aadhar Certificate is required to file the trademark application in the startup’s name.
How long does it take to register a trademark?
The total time for the trademark registration online process, including the time taken for preparing the examination report and opposition period, in 6-8 months.