Understanding the basics of trademarks is crucial for brand building. In this article, we will take a look at the fundamentals of trademarks, its types and function, importance, who can register a trademark and how to get one registered. Going through this article will give you a deeper understanding of trademarks and help you protect your business and your brand in the longer run.
What is a Trademark?
A trademark gives identity to a brand; it is a recognizable sign, word, design or an expression which is used to identify the goods or services of a seller from those of others.
It helps in securing the brand name from being used or misused by the competitors; it also helps prevent confusion and manipulation of consumers, who come to associate with quality and attributes of a distinct brand in particular.
Trademark is mostly located on the label, a voucher, or on the product itself. Some of the most famous Trademarks are:
Types of Trademark
1. Product Mark:
A product mark is similar to trademark only, but it is to identify the products or goods instead of services.
2. Service Mark
This type of trademark is used to identify and distinguish the services rather than the products provided by any enterprise.
3. Collective Mark:
These types of trademarks are linked with a group of people and not one single product or service.
4. Certification Mark:
The certification mark is created to show the standard of a company i.e. it is to show that a trader's goods or services are certified as they meet particular standards.
5. Shape marks:
These marks can also be categorised in Trade Dress wherein, other than the logo, label, and other identifiable symbols a product can also be distinguished based on its packaging.
6. Pattern Mark:
The general meaning of the pattern is a repetition of similar design, so it is a type of trademark wherein the pattern is able to distinguish the product and services of one brand to another.
7. Sound Mark:
There has been an introduction of another form of trademark where the "mark" is of sound graphics that distinguishes the products and services of one from the other.
The sound logo can comprise musical notes, words and sound graphics. The first Sound Mark to be registered in India was Yahoo yodel followed by Nokia tune.
What does a trademark do?
“Trademark” is another way of referring to brands, even if you don’t realise it. Everyone deals with trademarks on a daily basis and they greatly influence the purchasing decisions of consumers and also helps create the brand reputation which in turn helps in the growth of any business. So, it is equally important for the businesses to have an understanding of trademark usage and protection. Some of the uses of trademarks are given below:
- The marketplace is crowded, how will your consumer spot you? It is the Trademarks which makes it easier for the consumers to distinguish your products from that of your competitors and helps in grabbing the attention of potential customers, making your products and services stand out from the crowd. Hence creating brand loyalty among the consumers.
- A trademark conveys the emotional attributes and the vision of the company or the products sold by them. For example, the logo of Flipkart
has a yellow colour shopping cart conveying that it's a shopping site.
- Trademarks are used for branding, especially on social media. Most consumers enter your brand name/ trademark in the search engine while searching for any products and services. Efficaciously done social media marketing using the brand name can lead to more brand recognition among consumers and also helps in building higher traffic on the website which will translate into more customers.
- Trademark is an important asset to any kind of business, just like real estate but it is intangible (not- physical), but it can be bought, sold or can be used as a security interest in securing a loan for your business, the value of a trademark increases with brand reputation and more the reputation grows, the more valuable your brand will be.
Why you need a Trademark?
Securing your unique name, word, tagline, symbol or logo is one of the most important investments for your business. You need to apply for protection of your Brand name so that others could not benefit from your investments. By registering it, you can obtain a full right over a trademark.
Some of the benefits of registering your brand name are mentioned below:
- The claim of ownership: Registering your trademark gives you the mark of ownership, which essentially means, that you retain the exclusive use of the mark and no one else can use it. Thereby, helping you establish your brand more effectively.
- Listing in IP India’s Database: Being listed on IP India’s online database ensures that others know that you own the mark and have exclusive rights to using it. It acts as a deterrent against possible misuse/misrepresentation.
- The right to use the ® symbol: Once your trademark has been registered; you have the right to use the ® symbol which shields your trademark from infringement by granting it legal protection.
- Sell and License your brand: Having a trademark can help you sell and license your brand and also helps in brand recognition.
- Protects from unfair practices: It secures your business from unfair practices such as the use of deceptively similar marks by rivals that could hurt your brand’s image. A trademark gives you legal protection from such unfair practices.
Who can register a trademark?
Anyone who claims to be an owner of a trademark can apply for trademark registration; it can be an individual, a business organization or a legal entity. But at times, there is confusion in deciding the ownership of the trademark, whether to register as an individual or under your company name?
Following are some points explaining the same:
- If you own a company and brand are working for the company, then it should be registered under the name of the company, as it will help you create the valuation for your business
- If you do not have any company, but you are planning to open a company, and also you are in a hurry to register the trademark, then you may proceed with the registering in your name and, later on, you can transfer ownership of brand to the company.
Where can I get my trademark?
A trademark application can be filed on your own, either by filling an application at the Trademark Registry offices or else you can register a trademark by applying online on IP INDIA. However you can save your time and money by consulting on the experts at QuickCompany, we will assist you thoroughly in filling up your application in just 2 working days.