Everything You Need To Know About Online Trademark Registration Process
A registered trademark is a valuable asset which safeguards a company’s investment or proprietor business. Trademark registration is one of the basic beginnings of a brand or an entity. The Trademark Act provides provision of registration of the Trademark for exclusive use and prohibits others from using it. It offers an exclusive right to the proprietor, thereby providing legal protection against its illegal usage. It can be filed online and offline. But Online Trademark Registration process is much convenient and hassle-free. It is cost-effective and saves a lot of time for a person.
What Is A Trademark?
According to the section 2 (zb) of Trademarks Act 1999, Trademark refers to a mark capable of being represented graphically and which enables a person of distinguishing the goods and services of one from other and may include the shape of products, their packaging and combination of colours. In simple words, Trademarks are visual representations which could be in the form of symbols, designs or words which help a person in recognising or distinguishing a particular brand or a company. According to section 2 (m), a mark may include a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, shape of goods, packaging or combination of colours or any such combinations.
Types Of Trademark
- Word Mark– This is the most common and simple kind of Mark. If the name of Goods or Services contains only text, then it can be registered under Word Mark. An invented name not being descriptive of its character or quality of the goods or services. For ex- Nestle is registered under the wordmark category.
- Device Mark– A logo or symbols either printed or painted figure or any unique design can be registered as Device Mark. For word marks that are also used as a logo, the Trademark needs to be registered both as a word mark and a device marks. For ex-Apple company logo is registered under device mark. In India, both can be cover in a Single Application.
- Shape of Goods- The shape of goods can also be registered in India if it’s unique. For example, The bottle shape of Coca-Cola is distinguished from other brands
- Series Marks– Series marks are trademarks which have a common symbol, prefix or suffix, which denote as a family of marks sharing a ‘common name.’ For example, McDonald’s have a series of ‘Mc’ registered as a wordmark, which represents their different products like Mc Chicken, Mc Veggie etc.
- Collective Mark- These marks are used by a group of companies or by a group of people and not related to one single product or service. It is primarily owned by an organization, association or any Institutes. Members of such an organization can use the mark to represent them as part. For example, – A chartered accountant can use the CA device.
- Certification mark– The certification mark shows a quality standard that the company has met. It basically shows “standard” of goods and services. By this mark, the public will be aware of the trader’s goods or services standard, as defined by the certifying body that owns the certification mark. For example,- “FSSAI” is a certification mark for all food products.
Why Is Trademark Registration Necessary?
There is quite a no. of reasons why trademark registration is necessary. Trademark is a way of protecting your business. The following passage lays down the factors which make Trademark registration crucial.
- A Trademark (under section 28 of the Trademarks Act) gives the proprietor exclusive right to use the Trademark regarding the goods and services in respect of which the mark is registered
- A Trademark assists in distinguishing a product of one person from the other.
- A Trademark plays a critical role in creating a product or brand’s identity.
- If your Trademark is registered, then you shall have the legal power to protect your Trademark against infringement.
- Having a registered Trademark also aids in seeking relief from the court of law in case of an infringement.
- A registered Trademark will allow you to advertise your product. An attractive Trademark is even more preferable.
- A Trademark can be considered as a form of an asset which can be sold, licensed or assigned.
- Another reason why Trademarks are essential is that in a company, a trademark has the source of largest intangible value as quoted saying by David Haigh, founder of Brand Finance, a brand valuation consultancy.
Who Can Apply For Trademark Registration?
According to section 18(1) of the Trademark Act, 1999, any person claiming to be the proprietor of a trademark used/proposed to be used by him may apply in writing for registration. Any person here means:-
- a partnership firm;
- association of persons;
- a company whether incorporated or not;
- a trust;
- joint owners;
- Central or state government.
However, it is critical to note that for filing a trademark application, each of different class of person or entity has different criteria.
Documents Required For Trademark Registration Process:
- Aadhar or Pan card of the applicant
- MSME certificate (if applying as small enterprise)
- Incorporation Certificate (In case of a company)
- Partnership deed(if a partnership firm is applying)
- Startup Certificate( if applying under startup category)
- Power of attorney
Online Trademark Registration Process
Registration of a Trademark goes through the following stages:-
Firstly, one has to come up with a unique brand name or logo. It must be distinct in nature and should not be identical or similar to the existing Trademark in the Trademark registry. You must always check before applying for the Trademark that whether similar kind of Trademark has been registered or not. By doing this, one can avoid further complications of trademark registration. One needs to mention class and mark name, and it can be checked by clicking on this link.
Once a mark has been finalised, one can apply for online Trademark Registration by registering as proprietor or through Agent or through an attorney.
If a user is a registered agent or attorney, then the application can be filed by using Log in Credentials or Digital Signature.
For filing an application, a user has to login either with User Id and Password or User Id and Digital signatures into the system.
After successful login, by using Login Id and Password or Login id and Digital signature, a domestic application can be filed by clicking on New Form Filing.
Once you click on New form filing, various options will flash like File TM-A, File TM-M etc. So, for filing a fresh application for Registration of Trademark one have to select TM-A and then have to select applicant category accordingly like whether the applicant is filing as Small Enterprise, Individual/Sole Proprietor, Startup or Others…
An applicant has to select the appropriate category. If a company is filing for Trademark, but with MSME then it shall be filed under Small Enterprise or any partnership firm or anyone have MSME certificate, then the application can be filed under small enterprise. It saves government fee also. Anyone if filing as small enterprise then fee will be Rs.4,500 otherwise for Company, Partnership firm etc. government fee is Rs.9,000. Here, for example, if someone is filing as a company, then the category which an applicant shall choose is Others. Then we need to select the type of application. So, for filing of a fresh application for trademark registration, we have to select Trade Marks Application, and we need to mention class under which we are applying for the Trade Marks Registration and submit it for further procedure. An appropriate class can be opted by searching on the IP website.
Once submitted, Form TM-A will be open, where few details need to be mentioned like applicant details by clicking on Add new proprietor which require few details like Name, Address, Legal Status and Category of the applicant (Body incorporate, LLP, Partnership Firm etc…), Category of Mark like word, Device, sound, shape etc.., then Goods and services description, Statement as to use of mark, language of Mark etc. After filling the complete form correctly, we have to Save & Resume, and then we will proceed for next level, i.e. Attach documents in which we need to attach power of attorney on behalf of applicant, company incorporation certificate and other required documents (whatever is applicable as per the applicant category).
After uploading all the required documents, need to sign the application digitally by opting digital signature. And final step for filing of an application is online payment of government fee. Once the fee is paid, an application number will be generated.
Status of the application can be tracked online by clicking on the link.
After applying for trademark registration, the examiner will then examine the application. The examiner will check whether the intended Trademark complies with the law and does not clash with the existing Trademark in the Trademark registry. If the trademark examiner finds no objection in the proposed Trademark then it will proceed further or else any objection is found then the status report will show as objected and for that, there is separate procedure depends on the type of Trademark Objection.
Thereafter if the Trademark sails through stage 4, then the logo or the brand name will be published in the Indian Trademark Journals. In case no one raises an opposition over the Trademark within the stipulated time, the Trademark advances to acceptance.
This is the final stage of the Trademark registration wherein if no one raises an opposition within the stipulated time. The registrar accepts the Trademark application and a Trademark registration certificate are issued which signifies that the Trademark is now registered and gives that company the exclusive ownership over the logo or the brand name. The issuance of the certificate also enables the company or the brand to use the registered trademark symbol next to the Trademark.