Trademark Registration for a name is a legal process and is governed by the Trademarks Act, 1999. Here’s a look at the registration process.
When you register a trademark for a brand name, it means that the name has been given exclusivity of use under the Trademarks Act (under the classes it’s been registered for). If another party chooses to sell their goods and services under the same name, the act provides a legal mechanism to sue them for trademark infringement.
- Find a Brand Name: The first step is to find a name that you want to use. It’s a good idea to conduct a trademark search, to ensure that no one else is using the same name.
- Trademark Application: The application form should be prepared, with the supporting documents like proof of business registration, soft copy of trademark, etc.
- Filing the Application: The application can be filed manually through the Registrar of Trademarks Office located in several cities. Alternatively, it can be filed through the e-filing system, which is more convenient. Once the application has been filed you can start using the ™ symbol along with your brand name.
- Monitor the Application Status: Once the application has been filed, there is nothing much to be done expect to monitor the various stages that the application goes through. You would be required to submit extra evidence if requested by the trademarks officer (trademark objection). Or, reply to any oppositions after the mark has been published in the Trademarks Journal.
- Acceptance and Registration Certificate: If the mark doesn’t face any opposition after it’s been published in the Trademarks journal (during the four-month period), the trademark will move to be accepted. Then, the registrar will issue the trademark certificate, and you can start using the ® symbol against your brand name.
Types of marks that you can register
Apart from brand names, you can apply for a registration of other types of marks. The registration process is almost the same.
Letters and Numbers: Letter or numbers, or a combination thereof can also be used as a brand name and can be trademarked. For instance, the brand name 777 is a registered trademark of Sri Ganeshram’s foods.
Words: This can include your name. For instance, the name of designer Manish Malhotra is a registered trademark. Words can also be invented words (Eg: Nike), or common words (Eg: Apple).
- Phrases: This could include brand slogans or taglines that you would like to be associated with your brand or products.
Logo and Graphic elements: Any graphic element such as a brand logo or an image of a brand mascot can be registered trademarks, including package design elements.
Sounds: Did you know that Yahoo’s signature ‘yodel’ is a registered sound mark in India? Sounds capable of identifying the brand can be registered as a mark.
- Combination of colours: Right from Coke’s signature red and white to Colgate’s white and red combination, a brand's colour combinations can be registered as trademarks.
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