Trademark registration provides legal protection against unauthorized use of the registered brand name. The trademark is registered based on types of goods and services. The ministry divides all types of goods and services into 45 classes.  To register the brand under the trademark, one must know the correct class of trademark. It may also happen that the product falls under more than one class. It will be a tedious process to file each of the applications separately. Also, it is a time- consuming process.  

Let’s take the example of “Unilever”. Since it manufactures various products, to protect the brand for all its products, it must take the trademark registration in all related classes. For multiple trademark registration, one can apply it in two ways. First – an individual application in each class, second a multi-class application. In multi-class application, an applicant can apply in more than one class in a single application.

Key points on Multi-class Trademark Application 

Single application 

The multi-class trademark application will be considered as a single application for all the applied classes. Hence all the classes will be processed jointly.   

Easy to file 

It will be a tedious and time-consuming process to file each of the applications separately. The information will be accurate in filing a single application for multiple classes. There will be less documentation in a multi-class application. 

Trademark application fees 

There will be no difference in the government fees for a trademark application. The fees will be the same for both separate application and a single multi-class application. The fees will be Rs. 4500/- per class for proprietor or MSME or Startup applicant and Rs. 9000/- per class for other applicants. So, there is no benefit in the multi-class application relating to the fees of trademark application. 

Delay in the process due to a single application 

As it is a single application for all classes, the whole application will come to a hault if there is an issue in any class. For example, an applicant files a multi-class application for 5 classes. The entire application may put to hold if the Ministry finds any issue in one of the classes. The ministry will process the entire application only when an issue with the other application gets cleared. Hence, if there is a doubt about the availability of the brand in one of the classes then it is better to file the individual applications in all classes.

Rejection of an application 

If the ministry issues objection or in case of opposition rose by the third party in one of the classes which do not get cleared then the whole application will be rejected even if the brand can register in other classes.  There is an option to divide the applications later on so that one can get registration in other classes. But it will consume additional time and fees.  

Trademark must be in use in each class 

The applicant must use the trademark in each class in which registration is taken. There is a possibility that the applicant applies in various classes but does not carry on business in all classes. In such a case, the ministry may cancel the registration. The applicant has to provide sufficient proofs of being continuous use of a trademark in such class. 

Conclusion

If the product or service falls under multiple classes, then the applicant must register the trademark under all such classes. Otherwise, others may register a similar brand name under other classes. If the brand name is unique then one may apply it through a multi-class application. And if not then it is better to apply it separately for all classes.