Trademark Registration Services in India | Unimarks

Trademark Registration Process in India

Trademark registration is the process by which the owner of a mark can protect and maintain exclusive rights to and prevent others from using it without permission. It also prevents the use of confusingly similar trademarks or brand name for related goods or services. Registering your trade marks with the Indian Trademark Office gives you legal protection against infringement and unfair competition. The trademark owner will enjoy an exclusive right to sell, distribute and enforce the rights in the marketer for the goods and services as registered proprietor of the trademark. A trademark is the epicentre of any business and thus If you are starting up or already have an established company, protecting your brand is crucial. 

Benefits of Brand/trademark Registration:

There are many benefits to obtain trademark registration. One benefit is that it can help protect your trademark from unauthorized use. Another benefit is that it can help ensure that your trademark is known and recognized by the public. Additionally, trademark registration can help you protect your business from competition. 

1. Unauthorized Use: 

Trademark registrations can help prevent unauthorized use of your trademark. Other businesses may not be willing to use your name or logo if they know it will be protected by trademark registration.

2. Protection from competitors: 

If you have a registered trademark, other businesses may not be able to copy or use your product or service without getting permission. This will keep your business afloat and protect your name and trademark from being used in a lower quality or less beneficial product.

3. Protection from the unfair competition: 

If you have a registered trademark, other businesses may not be able to compete against you without having the proper permissions. This will protect your business from unfair competition, which can damage your reputation and make it difficult to compete with others.

4. Attribution of trademark: 

If you have a registered trademark, other businesses may be able to attribution your name or logo to other businesses without getting permission. This will help you protect your name and trademark from being used without permission in a derogatory or unfair way. 

5. Other Notable benefits of Trademark Registration

  • It appeals to prospective clients and customers.

  • You can use the Symbol (R) for trademark or Brand.

  • You can invest and build brand value and credibility in the market for the registered trademark/brand

  • Helps in the expansion of business and growth.

  • Easy to identify and associate.

  • Exclusive Rights to the Brand Name & Logo in the market.

  • You can initiate both civil and criminal action against perpetrators.

  • Brand registration gives the legal right of ownership over the brand.

  • Statutory rights over the mark can be claimed.

  • Exclusive license to sell, trade-in, lease, and assign the brand.

  • Constructive notice of ownership of the trademark.

Protection to unregistered brands:

Unregistered Trademarks - Can it still be Protected?

In India, trademark protection is based on first to use not first to register. This means no one can use a trademark without the consent of the trademark owner whether it is registered or unregistered. To apply for trademark or brand name registration or not is the decision of such owner of the mark.

The rights of the unregistered owner are still protected but they cannot enjoy the benefits available to the registered proprietor under the Indian Trademarks Act. If the rights of the unregistered brand are infringed, an action of passing off (with necessary proof) can be contested against the infringer for the misuse of the brand. As a trademark owner, it is advisable to register such name, logo, or slogan marks to claim exclusive rights and enjoy the benefits as a registered proprietor of the trademark.

To protect your Unregistered trademark in India, you should carefully consider the following:

1. Is your trademark applied for registration before the Indian Trademark Registry? 

If not, please do so by filing as a trademark application before the trademark registry. This will protect your trademark from being used without the consent of the trademark owner.

2. Do you have a valid trademark? 

If not, you will need to apply for trademark registration application with the Indian Trademark Office. This will prevent anyone from using your registered trademark without permission.

3. Are all of the necessary documents in place? 

If not, you will need to create and/or procure all necessary documents as mandated on the trademark act. For example, you will need to file a current trademark registration with the Indian Trademark Office, and any necessary registrations with other federal or international agencies.

Requirements to Register a Trademark Online

In India, trademark registrations are done through the IP India website. You can use the following link to access from the link www.ipindia.nic.in.  

Online Trademark Registration:

The IP INDIA website offers a trademark registration process that you can use to register trademarks online.

To use this process, you will need to declare the use of your trademarks by filing a form in TM-A by providing the following information.

  1. The name of the trademark.
  2. The full trade name of the trademark.
  3. The use for which your trademark is being used
  4. The date your declaration was used in the course of business.
  5. The contact information for the trademark owner and the company details.
  6. A list of existing registered trademarks (if any) that are being used with the trademark
  7. The contact information for the trademark owner

Different Steps of Trademark Registration Process

Trademark Search

Trademark Search is the most crucial aspect before filing the trademark in India. It is very important to perform an exhaustive trademark search to ensure that no other person in India has already filed, registered, or used the proposed trademark in India. To check the Availability of the Trademark from the public search offered by the trademarks registry before filing the trademark application

Filing of Trademarks Application: 

Trademark Applications can be filed in single or multiple classes in the prescribed form before the Trademark registrar either through e-filing or manual filing in Form TM-A. A separate application for each class has to be made to apply for a trademark in different classes. It is ideal to associate any existing registered trademark while filing the trademark application. 

Allotment of Trademark Application number: 

Upon filing the application, the registry will issue an application number, which will be used for future references until and after the registration of the trademark. 

Trademark Status: New Application Filed / Send to Vienna Codification

Formality Check Pass: 

After accepting the application, the registry will scrutinize the application for Formality Check, in which the Registry will issue conduct the Preliminary Check to ensure that the application is filed in a prescribed manner.

Trademark Status: Formalities Check Pass / Formalities Check Fail

Examination of Trademarks 

The Registry will now check for Section 9 and 11 objections- Absolute Grounds and Relative Grounds to ensure the mark to be registered satisfies the criteria for registration. Based on the examination, the registry will issue the examination report. 

Trademark Status: Objected

Reply to the examination report

The Applicant will be required to file the reply within 30 days from the date of issue of the examination report upon receiving the examination report.

Trademark Status: Objected

Trademark Show Cause Hearing 

If the registrar is satisfied with the reply, they shall accept and advertise the mark. If not, they will fix a date of hearing on which the applicant will have to appear before the registrar. If, during the hearing, the registrar accepts, the mark will be advertised.

Trademark Status: Awaiting Show Cause Hearing 

Publication in the trademarks journal: 

Upon acceptance of the mark, the mark will be published in the trademarks journal to call for third-party opposition. If there is no opposition filed after 4 months from the date of publication in the trademark journal then the trademark will proceed for registration. 

Trademark Status: Accepted / Advertised bef Acc / Advertised as Accepted.

Trademark Status (In case of Opposition) : Opposed

Registration of the trademark: 

The trademark having no opposition proceedings will be accepted by the trademark office, and a certificate of trademark registration will be issued to the applicant.

Trademark Status: Registered

Renewal of Registered Trademark

Renewal of Registered trademarks once in every 10 years from the date of trademark application.

Trademark Status: Renewal Due

Timelines for Trademark Registration: 

Trademarks can be registered in India quickly and easily thanks to the country's current trade mark system. The process can take anywhere between 5 to 9 months considering there is no third-party opposition.. 

Also, the timeline for registration of the trademark  based on the uniqueness of the trademark and the time taken by Indian Trademark Office for granting trademark registration of the mark. It is crucial to have the paperwork in accordance with the trademarks act handy while filing the trade mark application before the Indian Trademark office to avoid any delay in getting the registration. 

Use of Trademark Symbols for registered and unregistered trademarks

Following are the common symbols found across the brands:

  • ® - Signifies trademark registered brands in respect of goods and services. Using the registered trademark symbol ® unless the mark is registered is unlawful.

  • TM- The symbol ™ can depict unregistered trademark brands. Using the symbol simply means that the proprietor of the mark claims to be the owner of the brand.
  • SM – The Symbol SM refers to the service mark which are used in respect of Service Industries

Eligibility for Filing Trademark registration in India

Trademark registrations are widely used to protect the brand or slogans or coined words of a company that are unique. Trademark registrations in India can be obtained by individuals or businesses or by non-profit organizations. However, each of the different class of persons or entity that have different requirement while filing the trademark application. The following are eligible for obtaining trademark registration in India. 

An individual (Person)

  • An individual who is not doing any business can also obtain a trademark application and obtain trademark registration for a symbol or word that is proposed to be used by the applicant in the future. 

Joint owners

  • In case two people are deciding to file a trademark application then the names of both the people must be mentioned on the application. 

Proprietorship Firms

  • While filing a trademark application in India of a proprietorship firm then the full name of the applicant must be mentioned. The business name or the proprietorship is not acceptable. 

Partnership firm

  • When filing a trademark application for the goods or services to register in the partnership company name and the application shall mention the details of all the partners. In case of a partnership also includes a minor in the partnership the trademark application shall provide the information of the guardian who represents such minor shall also be mentioned.

Limited Liability Partnership

  • The Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) is an incorporated body where the partners have their own identity. Thus, the partners of the LLP cannot be the applicant as the trademark filed and owned by the LLP. The trademark registration sought in Limited Liability Partnership, the trademark application shall mentioned the name of the the LLP.

Indian Company

  • In case of the application of a trademark in India for One Person Company, Private Limited Companies or Public Limited Company then the trademark application shall be filed in the name of such company. The limited companies are otherwise considered as independent incorporated entities and thus the application cannot be filed in the individual directors name. However, the director of the company can act as an authorised signatory while filing a trademark registration before the Indian Trademark Office.

Foreign Company

  • For a trademark registration sought in the name of a foreign incorporated entity by filing a trademark application in India the application is to be made in the corporate name as it is registered under the foreign country. Here the nature of the registration, the country, and the law is to be mentioned. 

Trust, Society or NGO

  • In some cases a trademark registration is owned applied or transferred to the Trust or Trust or any non-profit organisation. It is the case when such trademark application is filed in on behalf such non-profit organisation in the name of the managing trustee or the chairman or the secretary that is representing such organisation shall be mentioned. .

Five Important Documents Required for the Trademark Application

Trademark registration in India is a process that requires you to provide a variety of documents, for all the trademarks application, trademark affidavit, and trademark registration certificate.

In order to register a trademark in India, you'll need to provide the following documents:

1) Your trademark application.

2) Identity Proof and Address Proof

3) MSME Certificate /Udyog Aadhar Registration / Udayam Registration Certificate for MSME Companies.

4) Your trademark affidavit, invoice bills, advertisement copies in case of the claim of prior use

5) Your trademark registration certificate if there is any existing trademark registration.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I apply for Trademark in the name of my Private Limited Company?

Yes! the trademark can be applied in the name Private Limited company, LLP or even in the name partnership firm to obtain registration if that trademark belongs to such firm. 

2. Do I require a trademark attorney to file my trademark applications?

No! The individuals can file the trademark applications before the trademark office either manually or online. However, the registration of the trademark is a complex procedure and requires a consistent follow-up with the trademark office. Thus, it is always advisable to hire a competent trademark attorney or firm to file the trademark registration to ensure the due protection of the brand. 

3. What can I do if my trademark registration is refused?

You can file an appeal before the appropriate courts challenging the refusal of the trademark. Earlier it was filed before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board. 

4. What is a Collective Trademark?

Collective trademarks can be filed when a group of companies decides to unite their efforts to protect their trademarks. The protection of collective trademarks can be granted by the Indian Trademark Office. This can be done by ensuring that each company has the same rights to use the trademarks and that any disputes between the companies are resolved through a collective process.

5. What actions I should do if my trademark is opposed by some third party?

You can defend your trademark rights by filing the counter statement 

6. What is the duration of registration of a trademark?

The trademark shall be registered within 6 to 9 months.

7. What are the documents required to file the trademark application?

Commonly, the MSME Certificate, certificate of incorporation (if available), affidavit, proof of user shall be required to be filed before the trademark office in India.

8. What are the requirements to file the trademark application online?

The online application of a trademark for the goods or services can be filed with the digital signature while applying on the e-filing portal.