The purpose of having a trademark on a product being sold in the market is to protect the consumer from confusing the said product with another similar one available in the market.
Under Section 2(1)(m) of the Indian Trademarks Act of 1999, a Trademark has been defined to include a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, shape of goods, packaging or combination of colours or any combination thereof.
There can be said to be four primary functions of trademarks. They are:
The purpose is thus for establishing a connection between the product and a person/entity having the absolute right as the owner or registered user for the usage of that mark in the course of trade and commerce.
Under Indian Law, there are four types of marks that can be registered:
The origin of the Indian Trade Marks Act dates back to UK’s Trademarks Act of 1875. The drafted Bill was introduced and passed in 1940 after its introduction in the Central Legislative Assembly.
Before that trademarks were governed by common laws i.e. under Section 54 of the Specific Relief Act of 1877.
Registration could be obtained under the Indian Registration Act of 1908. The Act of 1999 replaced the Trade and Merchandise Act of 1958 owing to fast-paced globalization and flow in trade and commerce and incorporated in it the requirements laid down by the TRIPs Agreement.
India is a signatory to this agreement owing to which it is obligatory for it to conform to the guidelines laid down by the TRIPs.
Some of the features of the Trademark Act are as follows:
The Act along with the Trademark Rules of 2002 governs Trademark laws in India. The Trade Marks (Amendment) Act of 2010 will bring in the Madrid Protocol. This will transform the trademark registration and make it a less cumbersome process by helping applicants submit a single application only once with WIPO granting them protection in a number of countries around the world after the first step of basic registration in the national country is completed.
Under the Act of 1999, Indian and foreign nationals are unable to register Trade Marks in various countries. The new amendment will do away with the process of filing separately and individually in each country.