How many cups of coffee and scribbles on a paper did it take for you to zero-in to design your logo? A dozen, right? If you don’t register your trademark, then someone else can. It is universally accepted that a unique brand and logo is the most valuable asset for the entity as customers can swiftly recognise your product or services among competitor’s products. It has become very important to protect your brand name and logo from misuse or duplication by others. Registration of a trademark confers a number of advantages over the use of an unregistered Brand name and Logo.
Advantages of Registering Trademark in India include:
- Exclusive rights to use the trademark
- Registered trademark owns brand value
- Securing business goodwill
- Gives its owners legal protection
- Ease of making advertisement and strong public relations
In India, the trademarks are registered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks. Registration of a trademark can be done either offline (physical) or online, i.e., E-filing (Online trademark registration). Offline registration of the trademark can be done at the offices of the trademark registrar based on the jurisdiction whereas E-filing is useful and arguably a more sensible method in the contemporaneous times.
Below are the simplified steps for E-filing – Online Trademark Registration Process in India:
- Register on the trademark office portal:
The first step is to register on the Trademark Office Portal, i.e. https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/trademarkefiling/user/frmLoginNew.aspx. Post registration the user can login either using User ID or the digital signature.
- Trademark search:
The initial process before registering for the trademark is to search whether the business name, brand or logo is similar to other already registered trademarks. The search can be performed at http://ipindiaonline.gov.in/tmrpublicsearch/frmmain.aspx.
- Filing of trademark application:
Once a trademark search is completed, the application for trademark registration can be filed with the Trademark Registrar. The application for registration of the trademark must be made in the prescribed manner along with the supporting documents and filed with the prescribed government fee for TM registration. After the application is filed the applicant can start using (™) mark over the trademark. Once the TM application is filed and a receipt is generated the application is categorized as a new application, the trademark department reviews the application and if found complete in all respect the application is marked for examination otherwise a clarification may be sought.
- Examination of trademark application:
Examination of application is done by the examiners of TM and if found appropriate the application is advertised in trademark journal. However the application may be processed as objected either under absolute grounds for refusal and/or relative grounds for refusal as prescribed in The Trademarks Act, 1999 and an examination report is issued accordingly. The objection must be resolved within prescribed time limits of its communication to the applicant.
- Show Cause Hearing:
A hearing may be scheduled by the examiner if he is not satisfied with the trademark objection reply filed. The notice will be issued to the address provided in the application in addition to uploading same to the portal. The applicant needs to appear in person or with the attorney to put before the grounds of application and request to pass the application to next stage.
- Publication of Mark in Trademark Journal:
After examination, the trademark is published in the Trade Marks Journal. Within four months of the publication of the trademark, the application will be processed by the Registry except there is no opposition raised by Third party. In case there is an opposition filed by the opponent, hearing process shall be conducted by Registrar to make notice of sufficient grounds from both the parties to establish their claims. Considering the facts of the case and supporting documents, the Registrar takes the decision in favour of either party to the case.
- Trademark registration & certification:
Once the application proceeds for trademark registration, following publication in Trademark Journal, a registration certificate under the seal of the Trademark Office is issued. The details of the Registered Trademark shall be entered into the Central Register of Trade Marks maintained by the Trade Marks Registry.
Registered trademark symbol (®) can be used once the certificate is received by the applicant.
The whole process of Online trademark registration usually takes 12-18 months. The trademark once accepted and registered, is valid for a period of 10 years from the date of Application filed with Trademark Registry. After the end of 10 years, the trademark needs to be renewed by filing a Renewal Application under TM-R along with the requisite fees. However, if registered Trademark is not renewed before six months of its expiry date then it will be removed from the register of Registrar.
Although the online trademark registration process in India is complex and time taking procedure, the Government has taken few steps to fast track the process. In addition to same, Government has also introduced provisions for granting rebate to the applicants falling under category of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises along with Start-ups registered with Government of India.
To ensure filing of Online Trademark Registration Application in correct manner under appropriate class, consult our expert at LegalWiz.in who can guide and help you in making the process smooth, simpler and easier.