Despite the varieties of trademarks that can be registered in India, their purpose remains the same - To act as the representation of a business’ ‘trade’. Trademarks are used to identify the source of the products or services that are available in the market.
While there are several types of cola soft drinks, we know which bottle of soft drink is made by the Coca-Cola Company because of the logo that is present on the bottle.
NICE Classification is an international classification of goods and service adopted by several countries, including India, to create a standardized approach for trademark registration.
Under this, trademarks are classified into various classes based on their nature and use.
Those names, symbols, shapes, colours, devices or sounds that help identify the products of an organization are classified under Class 1 to Class 34
Those names, symbols, shapes, colours, devices or sounds that help identify the services rendered by are classified under Class 35 to c=Class 45.
General trademarks are the most common types of trademarks that are registered in India. These refer to any marks that are used to identify the products and services of a trading company or service-providing company.
Since the company’s core activity and unique feature is the product(s) or service(s) it renders, a company would wish to safeguard all its related brand assets to avoid any duplication, passing-off or counterfeiting in the market.
A company can own several forms of this intellectual property, which consists of mainly trademarks.
The word Nestle® is a registered trademark, the company also owns the rights to its logo, the names of its products and logos of its products.
Read More: Intellectual Property Law
Anything mark of a company can be trademarked, as long as it functions as a trademark – that is, to help identify the source of the goods and services. Here is a brief list:
A word mark is a distinct text, (whether in actual letter format or numerical). This relates to the name of the company/product name for the purpose of branding. Thus, it is specifically text-based, unlike a logo that represents a pictorial image.
A device is a printed/painted figure/design/character. They do not consist of any letters/words/numerals etc. For word marks that are also used as a logo, the trademark would have to be registered both as a word mark and a device marks. In India, the registration for both these aspects can be made in a single application.
Also Read: How to trademark a Logo?
Series of trademarks basically means a number of trademarks which resemble each other as to their material particulars and which differ only as to matters of a non-distinctive character not substantially affecting the identity of the trademark.
The colour combinations become the brand itself and become known by it for that particular product. The public tends to associate the scheme with the specific product.
More: What is a Colour Trademark?
Sound marks consist of sound notes that distinguish the products and services of one from the other. The notations of sound that are graphically represented can be registered as trademarks.
The shape marks can 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.
More on: What can be trademarked in India?
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. However, it is primarily used by several members of the said organization.
Collective trademarks are "Badges of origin" which indicates the specific source of the individual, his/her products and services.
To get a collective trademark certain regulations are to be fulfilled by specifying the following information:
A variety of business professionals uses the collective mark provided by the organization the professional belongs to, apart from his/her own business mark.
For instance, a chartered accountant who has his own private firm can trademark and use his name and logo. Apart from this, he can also use the “CA" device as he is a registered member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
The certification mark is created to show a specific quality standard that the company has met. This means that the public will be aware that the trader's goods or services are certified as it has met a particular standard, as defined by the certifying body that owns the certification mark.
In brief, Certification marks are used to define "Standard" of goods and services.
FSSAI - Certification for the quality of packaged food products
Agmark - Certification for agricultural products
Silk Mark – Certification for the authenticity of silk textiles
Also Read: What cannot be protected under trademark law?
A geographical indication is also a type of trademarks that are used on products to show the unique nature, reputation and quality the products possess based on the origin of the products.
The Geographical Indicators are awarded by the GI Registry and is granted to natural, agricultural, manufactured and handicraft products that come from a specific geographical origin.
Once a Geographical Indication is registered, it acts as a trademark, disallowing other third parties from using the registered indicator in any means that show that their goods come from a particular geographical location.
The Geographical Indications of Goods was recognized in India after the TRIPS agreement was accepted. This led to the establishment of the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. The purpose of the GI Act was to:
There are several Geographical Indications in India right from Darjeeling Tea to Kanchipuram Silk. Taking the instance of Darjeeling Tea, the Tea Board which ones the GI can prohibit unauthorized manufacturers of tea from using the term ‘Darjeeling’ along with their products.
India is part of several international trademarks conventions to ensure a global economy for trademark recognition.
Once such convention is the Madrid Protocol that is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Under this, trademark protection can be obtained expeditiously in all the contracting countries to maintain trademark protection around the world.
Therefore, a registered trademark in any other convention country can also be registered in India, claiming the original priority date of the first registered trademark.
Initially, the existence of the right of a trademark is denoted by TM, which states that the mark is in the process of trademark registration. Once the mark is registered, the right is denoted by the ® symbol to give it recognition in the market. This use of trademark symbols applies to all types of trademarks.
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