How many cups of coffee and scribbles on paper did it take for you to zero in to design your brand name? A dozen, right? Someone else may get a similar idea if the trademark is not registered at the time of adoption. It is universally accepted that a unique brand name and logo design is the most valuable asset for a business as customers can easily identify your brand among the competitors in the market. It is necessary to pursue brand name registration to avoid any potential trademark violations.
Advantages of brand name registration include:
- Exclusive rights to use the trademark
- The registered trademark owns the brand value
- Securing business goodwill
- Provides its owners with a legal protection
- Ease of making advertisements and strong public relations
In India, the trademarks are registered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks. Brand name registration can be done either offline (physical filing) or online, i.e., E-filing (Online trademark registration). Offline brand name registration can be done at the offices of the trademark registry based on the jurisdiction whereas e-filing is useful and arguably a more sensible method in contemporary times.
Below are the simplified steps for Brand Name Registration in India:
The primary step in the process of brand name registration is to create a user account on the official portal of the trademark registry.
1. Register on the trademark office portal:
The first step is to log in to the account on the official portal of the trademark registry, i.e. https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/trademarkefiling/user/frmLoginNew.aspx. Once you have logged in to the official portal of the trademark registry, the user can log in either using the User ID or the digital signature.
2. Trademark search:
The initial process before brand name registration is to conduct a trademark search of whether the business name, brand or logo is similar to any other already existing trademarks. A trademark search can be performed here.
3. Filing of trademark application:
Once a trademark search is completed, the application for brand name registration can be filed at the appropriate trademark registry. 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 trademark registration. Once, the application is filed, the applicant can start using the symbol (™) mark in superscript. One can also pursue trademark registration online.
Once the trademark application is filed, the trademark department reviews the application for any discrepancies and if found complete in all respect the application is marked for examination otherwise a clarification is required. It is also important to keep tracking the trademark status updates from time to time so that the applicant knows the stages of the trademark application at any particular point in time.
4. Examination of trademark application:
An examination for the brand name registration is done by qualified examiners at the trademark registry and if the application fulfils the necessary requirements of the trademark application then the brand name is advertised in the trademark journal. However, the application may be processed as objected either under absolute grounds of refusal and/or relative grounds of refusal as prescribed in the Trade Marks Act, 1999 and an examination report is issued accordingly. The objections or discrepancies raised with regard to the trademark application should be addressed within a definite time period. as prescribed by the Trademark Registry.
5. Show Cause Hearing:
If the response to the examination report is not appropriate, then the Trademark Registry may issue a trademark hearing in the matter. This is also an opportunity for the applicant to portray the brand name in a manner that seems unique and distinctive to the trademark officer during the hearing.
The notice of the trademark hearing will be issued to the address provided in the application in addition to uploading the same to the portal. The applicant needs to appear in person or with their agent or lawyer to put before the grounds in favour of the brand name application and request the hearing officer to allow the trademark application to pass ahead in the trademark processes toward the brand name registration.
6. Publication of Mark in Trademark Journal:
After examination, the trademark is published in the Trade Marks Journal. There is a freezing period of four months during which the application for brand name registration remains open to opposition. In case there is an opposition filed by the opponent, a 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 of the appropriate trademark registry decides in favour of either party to the case.
7. Trademark registration & certification:
Once the application proceeds for a brand name registration, following publication in the trademark journal, a registration certificate under the seal of the Trademark Registry is issued. The details of the Registered Trademark shall be entered into the Central Register of Trade Marks maintained by the Trade Marks Registry. The registered trademark symbol (®) can be used once the trademark application is registered in the name of the applicant.
The whole process of brand name registration takes anywhere around 6-12 months. The brand name accepted for trademark registration will remain valid for an unlimited period of time subject to time renewal of the registered trademark. A registered trademark application needs to be maintained by renewing the same every ten years.
It is always advisable to connect to an expert whenever you have any concerns related to trademark registration. To ensure brand name registration under the appropriate class, you can consult our experienced legal professionals who can guide and help you in making the brand name registration-related processes smooth, simpler and easier.