Published On: Jun 25, 2019 • Last Updated: Aug 24, 2023 • 7.4 min read •
The monopoly era does not exist anymore. With some exceptions, people can carry on every type of business. Hence, there are people with a similar business, resulting in increased competition. Many similar products are available, creating confusion amongst the buyers. Some people also started selling fake products which created the need for a trademark. A trademark helps the buyer to ascertain the authenticity of the product and its true seller. But people avoid registering a trademark considering it is a lengthy process. The trademark ministry has become more proactive and made the process of registering a trademark much faster. Earlier, the trademark registration process would take 15-18 months to register a trademark, but now the trademark registration process takes 6-8 months if it is without any objections. Here are the stages of trademark registration process.
Following are the stages of trademark registration process:
One of the primary stages of trademark registration is the collection of documents, drafting, and filing of the trademark application will take 2-3 working days. Once the trademark is applied for, one can start using the “TM” sign alongside the brand name or logo as mentioned in the application.
Send To Vienna Codification
It is a part of the trademark registration process. If the trademark includes figurative elements or logos, then all such applications will be processed under Vienna codification. A Vienna code is assigned to it as per the Vienna Agreement. It enables the trademark search of a logo for internal use. Since it is an internal procedure of the trademark registry, it takes approximately 3-5 working days. This is one of the stages o trademark registration where the applicant is not required to take any action and wait for the trademark status to change.
Formality Check Pass/ Fail
One of the stages of trademark registration is to examine the trademark application for missing documents and clerical errors. Here, the trademark registry checks basic information filled in the application and attached documents. It will verify whether all the information is entered correctly or not. Verification of the information such as ‘translation’ or ‘transliteration’ in case of use of a language other than English or Hindi. This is also one of the stages of trademark registration in which the trademark registry checks the type of applicant and whether its details match with the details mentioned in the power of authority (POA) or not. If any user date is claimed, then the valid supporting documents are attached or not. If the trademark registry finds any defects in the trademark application then the status will turn to “Formalities Check Fail”.
Reply To Formality Check Fail
This is one of the stages of trademark registration in which the applicant is required to resolve the queries raised in the formality check fail report. If the application is in the stage of a Formality check fail then the reply has to be filed within 30 days of receipt. The reply with a correction in the application as asked by the trademark registry must be filed within the said period, otherwise, the trademark registry may order to abandon the application and not proceed further in other stages of trademark registration.
Formality Check Pass
If there is no deficiency in the application or after filing the reply to the formality check fail, the application will be marked as “Formality check pass”. Hereafter, the primary stages of the trademark registration get cleared and the trademark application proceeds to the next stage. The process may take 7-10 working days.
Marked For Examination
This is one of the stages of trademark registration where the trademark registry checks the brand name or logo applied under various sections of the Trademark Act. Accordingly, the trademark registry will issue an examination report either raising an objection or accepting the trademark. The process takes around 10-15 working days.
Objection And Reply
Here the trademark registry compares the trademark with other applications and registered marks. If it is found similar to any other brand name or logo then the trademark registry will raise an objection. Further, it will also raise an objection if the brand name is not capable of distinguishing itself from others or if it directly shows the characteristics of the goods or service such as the kind, quality, quantity, purpose, value, and geographic origin.
This is one of the stages of trademark registration if the trademark is under objection then the reply to the objection must be filed within 30 days from the receipt of such examination report. This is one of the stages of trademark registration where, If the applicant fails to file the reply in the statutory time period then the trademark will get abandoned and the trademark application will not proceed in further stages of trademark registration.
In case of objection raised by the trademark registry, the applicant can either file a reply to the objection or can request for a hearing with the officer. Further, in case the examiner is in need of more clarification or is not satisfied with the reply to the objection then the officer will schedule a hearing before rejecting any application. Here the status will remain as ready for show cause hearing until the date of hearing is scheduled. The duration is not fixed as the hearings will be processed by the trademark registry on a first come first serve basis. This is one of the most important stages of trademark registration.
Accepted & Advertised
This is one of the stages of trademark registration where the application will be accepted and advertised in the trademark journal in the following cases, If;
There are no objections raised in the examination report.
The reply to any existing objection is found satisfactory by the officer at the trademark registry.
The hearing officer as satisfied with the arguments in the support of the trademark application.
In all these cases, the trademark will be published in the trademark journal for 4 months. Trademark journal publishes all such trademarks that are about to get registered.
Any party can raise opposition against the registration of a trademark within 4 months of publication of trademark in the journal. In case of no opposition, the trademark application will move forward in other stages of trademark registration.
If the applicant receives a third-party opposition within the span of 4 months then they have to file a reply. The reply must be filed within 2 months from the receipt of notice of opposition. If it is not filed then the trademark registry will change the status of the trademark application to “Abandoned” and the application will not proceed for other stages of trademark registration. After which the opponent will get one more chance to file the reply against the reply of the applicant. Again the applicant will get a 2 months period to file a second counter statement. Non-filing results in an abandonment of the trademark application.
This is one of the last stages of trademark registration as well as the trademark opposition process. Here both sides will be allowed to argue and put forth their propositions and arguments. After hearing both sides, the hearing officer will pass an appropriate order. If the order is in the favour of the applicant then the trademark will get registered otherwise it will be refused. In case, the application is refused then the applicant will have to go through the stages of trademark registration again.
The applicant will receive the trademark certificate under the following circumstances:
If no opposition is raised– after the completion of 4 months of publishing the trademark in journal.
In case of opposition– when an officer passes the order of hearing in favour of the applicant.
In both cases, the applicant will be granted the trademark registration certificate in a month which is also the end of all stages of trademark registration. The applicant can use the “R” sign with its brand name or logo after receiving the trademark registration certificate. The ministry does not issue any physical copy of the certificate, it can be downloaded online from the trademark portalafter entering the application number.
The trademark application goes through many stages of trademark registration and hence it is important to understand how to register a brand name. However, if the brand name is unique then one can get the registration certificate in around 6 to 8 months. The application is processed through the trademark registry so the processing time completely depends on the pendency of trademark applications in the trademark registry at any point in time. The processing time may vary from case to case. Hence one should choose a unique brand name to avoid a longer registration period. Considering the complexity of trademark processes, it is always advisable to seek professional assistance for getting trademark registration.
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Shivani is a Company Secretary at Legalwiz.in with an endowment towards content writing. She has proficiency in the stream of Company Law and IPR. In addition to that she holds degree of bachelors of Law and Masters of commerce.