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Steps To Registration A Trademark In India

Among different types of intellectual properties present, Trademark is one of the essential types of intellectual property which is basically a word or combination of words, colors, logos, designs, etc which can be represented graphically and helps to differentiate one person's goods and or services from that of another person.

Trademark helps individuals and companies to create a brand name in the market by which, general public comes to associate one's product with a mark and also helps to understand the origin and quality of certain goods and services. Trademark represents and advertises its product, for example, "COLGATE" is associated with dental care items. Thus, COLGATE promotes its items and also differentiates it from similar/ identical items of its competitors.

Two of the above trademarks are involved in the same trade; they both manufactures and sells various dental care products and their consumers ranges are also same, but still, the consumers just by looking at these two marks on the products, can easily recognize and associate with the origin and quality of products which they sell. That is the power a trademark with unique features and quality holds in itself.

Importance Of Registration Of A Trademark

Trademarks are jurisdictional rights and like any other tangible assets, its also tangible in nature like, it can be licensed, sold, and purchased and can also be utilized as a security to obtain loan. Hence, such a tangible asset needs protection to keep acquiring economic benefits as long as the owner of such a mark wishes to.

A registered trademark gives exclusive identity to one's business and also safeguards their brand reputation. A trademark after registration can be used for 10 years before its renewal and hence, as long as the owner keeps renewing it on time, it can be used as long as the business of the trademark owner is alive.

Only a registered trademark can file an infringement suit against any third party infringer who tries to infringe or pass off their own goods and or services by utilizing the reputation and the goodwill of another person's registered trademark. The cost and time for registration of a trademark has ben reduced and also it is a one time expense. Now, the time required for registration ranges from 6 to 12 months and once its registered, it will remain valid for next 10 years.

Steps To Register A Trademark

To register a trademark, the owner needs to go through the following steps:
  • Conducting an exhaustive trademark search;
  • Filing an application with necessary documents;
  • Examination of the application by the Trademark Registry;
  • Post examination procedures;
  • Advertisement of the application in the Trademark Journal;
  • Opposition by any third party;
  • Registration and renewal of the same after every 10 years.

Step 1: Trademark Search
This step is very crucial before filing for trademark registration because conducting a detailed search will help a trademark owner to know whether their trademark is unique and distinct in nature and also check whether there is any similar or identical mark already existing or not. The trademark owner will get to know whether they have any existing competition in the same trade or not, since, all the existing trademarks are available with the Trademark Registry. Conducting a search gives a warning that whether the owner will have any risk of using that trademark or is it safe.

Step 2: Filing an Application
After conducting a search, comes the process of filing the application for registration. The application must be filed in Form TM-A either online from the IP India's official website or physically at the Trademark Registry Office according to one's jurisdiction.

The application must be filed for registration of a single ,ark only in a single class of goods and or services or in multi-class, and the fees will be calculated for each class included in the application. The application must be backed up with the required documents, along with complete details of the trademark.

Moreover, if the trademark is already in use before filing the application (i.e. the owner wants to claim prior use), they have to attach an user affidavit indicating the usage of the mark also the evidence of its prior use in the trade.

Step 3: Examination Process
Once the application is filed, it will be thoroughly examined by the Registrar and they will prepare an examination in writing and will send a copy of it to the applicant with 30 days to let them know whether the Registry wants to refuse or conditionally accept the application and shall also include the materials by which he came to such a decision.

The applicant within 30 days from receiving the examination report, must file a reply, stating all the defenses along with evidences against the objection raised by the trademark office and the owner shall put forward the reasons as to why their application should not be refused and must be proceeded for further registration procedures. If the applicant fails to reply within the above mentioned time frame, the application will be abandoned.

Step 4: Post Examination Procedures
Once the applicant files the reply to the examination report, the Examiner if wants can arrange a hearing if due to any reason he/she is not satisfied with the reply sent by the applicant or if, the reply is not able to fulfill the purpose of th objection stated in the report.

After the hearing process, if the examiner is fully satisfied, can accept the mark and forward it for publication in the Trademark Journal or can refuse the application if any objection is still there.

Step 5: Publication of the Trademark Application
After the examiner has accepted the application, it will be published in the Trademark Journal which will remain there for 4 months. Advertisement of such an application is done so that within the time period stated above, any third party can see it and if they want can file an opposition against the applicant.every Monday the Journal is updated with new accepted trademark applications.

Step 6: Notice of Opposition
Within 4 months from the date of publication of the application, any aggrieved party can file a notice of opposition in Form TM-O. When any third party feels that their already existing and prior use trademark has been infringed by the applicant, or the application is made in bad faith and if such a trademark is registered, it will harm the the reputation and good will associated with the prior trademark of the third party.

Notice of opposition will halt the registration process and the opposed mark of the applicant according to the Trademark Act, 1999, and the applicant have to go through certain legal procedures if they wants to continue with the registration of the same mark, which includes filing a counter- statement, submitting evidence in reference to that counter statement and in some cases it is seen that the applicant have to go through hearing as well.

Step 7: Registration
The last step in the registration procedure is to get the certificate of registration. After the mark goes through all the legal processes related to the opposition, and if the opposition is cleared, the applicant will receive the certificate.

In case where there is no opposition or any false opposition filed, after 4 months of publication period is over, within 7 days an auto- generated registration certificate will be issued to the applicant by the trademark registry office which needs to be renewed after every 10 years for keeping it alive.

A trademark registration procedure is fast and simple, although not mandatory, but it is recommended to get assistance from a trademark lawyer for registration of the same to make it an easy and smooth procedure. Written By: Madhuri Chakraborty

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