Types of Trademark in India

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Detailed Article on different types of Trademark in India. What is Product Mark, Shape Mark, Collective Mark, Certification Mark, Pattern Mark and Sound Mark.

There are several forms of a trademark based on their characteristics and features, the major division of trademark types are done based on their categories. However, in India, a product mark, service mark, collective mark, certification mark, shape mark, pattern mark and sound mark can be registered as a trademark.

  • Product Mark

A product mark is similar to trademark only, but it is to identify the products or goods instead of services. Herein the product is the unique selling feature of the company. To safeguard the product category and avoid any duplicity of the same a product mark is registered.

Initially, the product marks are denoted by TM, which states that the mark is not yet registered but in the process of registration. Once they are registered, they have to use ® to give it recognition in the market. This applies to all types of trademarks.

So product marks are those that are attached to the goods and products specifically to give it a distinct identity in the marketplace.

Examples: Pepsi®, Maggi®, PHILIPS® etc.

  • Service Mark

This type of trademark is used to identify and distinguish the services rather than the products provided by any enterprise. The service mark is for the intangible products which include the action of helping or doing work for someone; it can also be a system supplying public needs such as transport, communication or other utilities such as electricity, water, etc. Service marks are also applicable for the routine maintenance or repair work.

The Service marks have their particular symbol which is SM and not TM. There is a very thin line of difference between other trademark and service mark so many companies end up having both.

A very prominent example is McDonald's, which is a service mark for restaurant services.

  • Collective Mark

As the name suggests these marks are linked with a group of people and not one single product or service. These trademarks are primarily owned by an organization, institutes or any association that is related to several members.

The Collective marks are used by the members to identify themselves with the level of quality or accuracy, also geographical origin or other characteristics set by the organization they are related with.

Collective trademarks are "Badges of origin" which indicates the source of the individual. A variety of traders uses not only individuals but the collective marks provided that the trader belongs to that association.

To get a collective trademark certain regulations are to be fulfilled by specifying the following information:

  • The name and seat of the organization,
  • The complete valid information contact details(name, address, etc.) about the members under that association,
  • The conditions of membership is also required to be mentioned,
  • Mentioning the terms & conditions are applicable for using collective trademark,
  • The prescriptions relating to the control of the use of the collective trademark,
  • The order of proceedings against unauthorized use of the collective trademark.

Examples are like "CA" device is used by the members who fall under Institute of Chartered Accountants; another example is "CPA" which denotes members of the Society of Certified Public Accountants.

  • 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 meeting particular standards. The issue of certification mark states that the product has successfully passed a test that further says about a certain standard that is reached by the product.

It assures the consumer that the manufacturers have gone through regular process of audit to ensure the standard of production. The certification mark identifies the origin, material, and most importantly, the quality of the goods and services that separates a particular brand/company from the competitors in the market. These marks are used to access the worth of labor in manufacturing goods and services.

In brief, Certification marks are used to define "standard" of goods and services. Example: Woolmark, which is certified for the fabrics on clothing, Agmark, and ISI.

  • Shape marks

These marks can also be categorized in Trade Dress wherein, other than the logo, label, and other identifiable symbols; a product can also be distinguished based on its packaging. An example can be the Galliano liquor bottle.

By shape, it means the 3-D marks which are capable of making a difference in the goods and services of one businessman from another. There is a new Trade Marks Ordinance (Cap.559) which permits registration of such marks.


The above image will help you understand the basic difference between Shape Marks and all other trademark types.

To give you a more clear idea this is an example of shape mark which the Mogen David wine bottle has registered for serving wine bottles: This is specifically known as trade dress and the uniqueness can be protected under principles of trademark.

The competitors however intended to create confusion by labelling similar bottles but Mogen David was able to stop them and revive its original distinctive nature to use it as a trademark in the market.

To sum up shape trademarks, it has facilitated promotion of products and emerged into the trademark type after the technological advancement of graphics and other forms of animation technology. The graphical representation which is able to make a difference amongst the products can be shape marked.

  • Pattern Mark

The general meaning of 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 from another. These are difficult to be distinguished and have high chances of infringement with near similar designs.

They at times, fail to make a distinction and the registration would not be accepted unless they have evidence of distinctiveness.

A repeating pattern mark is any mark that is composed of a single element repeated to form a combination of designs, numbers, letters, or other characters, forming a complete pattern that is displayed on goods, on product packaging, the pattern can also be associated with the material, advertising or provision of services.

Read: How to Avoid Trademark Infringement

In a repeating pattern mark, the repeating pattern/element is to be mentioned specifically in the application for registering the trademark for avoiding any confusion.

There are chances the pattern mark can be rejected based on the below-written reasons:

  1. Common or Widely Used Pattern
  2. Pattern Creates a Distinct Commercial Impression Apart from Other Matter
  3. Nature of Elements in the Repeating Pattern
  4. Industry Practice
  5. It can be rejected because the mark fails to function as a source indicator.
  • Sound Mark

There has been an introduction of another form of trademark where the "mark" is of sound graphics that distinguish the products and services of one from the other. Only those notations of sound that are graphically represented can be registered as trademarks. Sound marks being audio form of trademark is challenging but to figure out the accurate nature of the sound mark based on its registration, there needs clarity in graphical representation of the sound design.

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.


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