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You may have seen ® this symbol several times. Did you ever wonder what the symbol is and why do businesses have it? To answer this question, it is a trademark symbol and trademark registration has various advantages. This article will explain what a trademark is, the registration process of a trademark, and its advantages.
What is a trademark?
In simple terms, trademark registration denotes that your goods and services are unique to your company. You can trademark your brand name, logo, design, pictures, slogans, etc. It distinguishes your product/brand and helps customers to have easy brand recognition.
How to do trademark registration?
The process of trademark registration starts with choosing the unique name for your brand. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. You need to surf the internet and verify the uniqueness of the brand name. Most common names may be taken by some businesses, as a result, you will need to be creative in choosing the brand name.
Once the unique name is chosen the rest of the registration process can be completed online or offline.
Offline process of trademark registration
While registering the trademark manually (offline) involves filling in the form TM-A (application form for trademark registration) and submitting it physically to the Trademark registration office. Trademark registration offices are located in major cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Ahmedabad. It takes around 20 days to receive acknowledgement of the same. Once you receive the acknowledgement, you are eligible to use the Trademark symbol.
Online process of trademark registration
Here is how online trademark registration process works.
- In order to apply online, you will need Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). Once you have your DSC, you will have to install the same on your computer.
- You can file an eapplication on the website for registering trademark.
- Select type of applicant from three choices – Proprietor, Agent and Attorney.
- Enter the code and click on ‘Process’.
- You will then need to fill in the form and submit it.
- Once you successfully submit the application, you will immediately receive an acknowledgement. You can start using the trademark symbol (TM) once you receive this acknowledgement.
Examination by the registrar
Once the Registrar of Trademark receives your application, he/she will run the common compliance check. It will be checked if the application complies with the Trademark Act 1999. Also, the office will check its uniqueness in terms of if it is similar or identical to any existing or pending brand names. If it is, then your trademark application will be rejected. Hence it is important to come up with a unique brand name.
Once the examination process is complete, the Registrar of Trademark publishes the brand name in the Indian trademark journal.
The registrar then waits for 90 days to receive objection if any. Objection is the any third party raising a concern over your trademark. The third party may claim that it has same or similar brand name/logo which is registered. If an objection is raised, there will be legal proceedings.
If there is no objection/opposition for 90 days, the certificate can be issued to you.
If any third party raises objection/opposition, you can send a counter statement in 2 months. The registrar then will have a hearing. You will need to submit evidence to support your case, while the opposition too will have to do the same. If the decision is in your favour certificate of the trademark can be issued to you.
Certificate of trademark
When there is no opposition within 90 days from the date of publishing, or the hearing is settled in your favour, the Registrar of Trademark issues the Certificate of Trademark Registration. The validity of trademark registration is 10 years from the date of filing. It can further be renewed.
Documents required for trademark registration
Here are some of the common documents required for trademark registration.:
- Duly filled and signed Form 48
- A copy of your logo
- Incorporation certificate/partnership deed
- Udyam certificate
- Identity proof such as an Aadhaar card, Voter’s ID, PAN card, etc., of the signing authority
- Address proof of the signing authority
What are the charges to register a trademark?
The trademark registration fees are as follows:
- If you are an MSME or startup you will need to pay ₹4500 for efiling while the fee for a physical application is ₹5000.
- If you are a company, the trademark registration fees will be ₹9000 for efiling and ₹10000 for a physical application.
What are the benefits of trademark registration?
Here are some of the benefits of trademark registration.
- Product differentiation: You use the ® symbol against the trademarked logo/brand name. Trademark creates brand identity, which helps your customers to easily differentiate your product in the marketplace.
- Reputation: Trademark denotes your commitment to offering quality products. Therefore, it builds goodwill among your customers and potential customers. Additionally, the same goodwill can help you to obtain a loan/credit from a bank or NBFC, as it builds a good reputation among officials.
- Protection against infringement: One of the main advantages of trademark registration includes protection against infringement. In case your competitor and any other third party tries to infringe; you can take legal action against them.
Concluding remarks: why should you register a trademark?
As mentioned earlier, a trademark creates reputation and trust among customers. Additionally, it has several perks such as help in getting a business loan. In another way, it boosts the business and helps in its growth. As a result, it is an important registration for businesses.