If you’re an entrepreneur or a business head who has received a show cause notice for your trademark application, then there will be a need for you to present your case to the Trademark Examiner against the trademark objection raised by the concerned authority. This blog will help you understand the trademark hearing process in India and prepare you to take the right steps forward.
What will you require for the trademark hearing?
Once you’ve chosen a Trademark Agent/ Attorney or any other person to attend the hearing on your behalf, you’ll have to draft the Letter of Authorization to make it official.
- Documents required for Trademark Hearing
To be able to prove your case in front of the Registrar, you need to prove to the Hearing Officer that you have been using the brand in good faith. You can also provide the following documents to the Registry as ‘proof’:
- Invoices from the date of the first usage of the brand
- Purchase orders
- Invoices from vendors
- CA certificate certifying the revenue earned/ expenses made till date in the name of the brand
- Brochures, visiting card, letterheads
- Social media marketing page screenshots
- Website screenshots, if any
- Advertising material
- Photographs of exhibition stalls
- Photographs of the packaging material having brand usage on it along with a printing bill with a date
- Any other document containing the trademark brand name, logo, or tagline if applied for
- Proof of business
What can be the consequences of not attending the show cause hearing?
If you or your representative fail to attend a trademark hearing on the given date, there can be any of the following consequences:
- The Hearing Officer will go through the documents uploaded and choose to Accept or Reject the mark; or
- The Registry will take no action and issue a fresh notice of show cause hearing.
Adjournment of trademark hearing:
Like all other judicial processes, you can also apply for an adjournment in show cause hearing, by filing a TM-M form. However, this window to apply for an adjournment is open until two days before the date of hearing.
Jurisdiction of trademark hearing
Since 2020, virtual modes of hearing have been made available, and at this point, all Trademark Hearings in India are conducted online. However, all states and union territories have been classified into 5 Regional Jurisdictions for filing Trademark Applications. We’ve listed them here:
Mumbai: The States of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, and Chhattisgarh
Ahmedabad: The States of Rajasthan and Gujarat and Union Territory of Dadra, Diu, Daman, and Nagar Haveli.
Kolkata: The States of Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Orissa, West Bengal, Mizoram, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Tripura, Jharkhand, and Union Territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Nagaland.
New Delhi: The States of Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Union Territories of Chandigarh and Uttarakhand.
Chennai: The States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka, and Union Territories of Pondicherry and Lakshadweep Island.
What happens after the hearing?
After the trademark hearing ends, the Hearing Officer passes an order. The order passed might be any of these:
- They might Accept the application
- If the arguments do not satisfy the Hearing Officer, they will refuse the application
- The Hearing Officer might ask the applicant to file a TM-M form and make some rectifications in the application
In order to successfully appear and make your case, you also need to know the following:
Why is a show cause hearing notice issued?
Once an application for Trademark is filed, the Examiners check all the details of the application. If they find any relevant grounds of refusal, they issue an examination report. Thereafter, the applicant must file a reply to this examination report within one month from the date of issuance of said notice.
Typically, when the trademark registry does not find the reply to the examination report to be satisfactory, they issue a show cause hearing notice. Hence, the Hearing is the final shot to convince the registry against the objections raised by them.
After you reply to the objection raised, the registrar goes through the reply and if they feel there’s a need to hear the applicant out in person before passing an order, they issue a notice of Hearing.
So what leads to the ‘Objection’ in a Trademark Application?
Whenever a trademark application falls under one of the following categories, an objection is raised by the registry:
- The mark is similar to an already existing trademark to such an extent that it might lead to confusion.
- Mark applied for contains such terms that it becomes descriptive of your trade/ services.
- The mark is non-distinctive and generic, i.e., a common term. (For example book, music, wood)
- It is a “prohibited term”
- The mark is obscene
- The mark might hurt the religious sentiments/ beliefs of a community, or
- There has been a mistake in applying; such as wrong class details or lack of any necessary documentation.
You’ll need legal help! Let us get it done for you
Expert Attorneys at LegalWiz.in will ensure that you never miss your hearing date and that the hearing goes smoothly. Our experts will make sure that all points in your application’s favour are noted by the Hearing Officer. For further assistance, you can directly contact us on 1800 313 4151 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org