Understanding Formality Check Fail in Trademark status and actions to take

Published On: Jul 11, 2019Last Updated: Jul 11, 20193.8 min read

The process of trademark registration does not end with the filing of a trademark application with the ministry. A trademark application goes through certain different stages before it is registered. There are some stages where the registrar raises an issue which needs to be addressed where the trademark status is updated.

If the reply is not filed within the provided period then the application gets rejected. Hence, the applicant needs to check the status of the application at the regular interval.

The major stages included in the online trademark registration are listed under. 

  • Send to Vienna Codification
  • Marked for Examination
  • Formality Check Pass
  • Formality Check Fail
  • Objected
  • Ready Show Cause Hearing
  • Accepted Before Advertisement
  • Accepted & Advertised
  • Opposed
  • Registered

This article is focused on the status of ‘Formality Check Fail’.

What is meant by ‘Formality Check Fail’?

The Trademark status ‘Formality Check Fail’ means the registrar will examine the application at the preliminary level. Here the registrar will check the basic information and documents provided within the application.

Reasons for Trademark Status – Formality Check Fail 

Incorrect category

While filing the application one has to select the category under which the application is to be filed. The categories are divided into four parts which are;

  1. Individual/Sole Proprietor
  2. Startup
  3. Small Enterprise
  4. Others

Hence, if the proper category is not selected then the application shall come under the status to the formalities check fail. 

  • Incorrect class: 

The ministry has divided the goods and services into 45 classes. The correct class needs to be selected at the time of filing an application.

  • Incorrect goods or service description: 

In the application, the description of goods or services in which the applicant is dealing is to be provided. The description must be according to the nice classification provided by the ministry. When the selected class and its corresponding description does not match, the application may show this status.

  • Improper documents: 

The timeline for Trademark Registration Process can further stretch if all the required documents are not submitted. This includes putting up an application with important documents like such as power of attorney, affidavit & proofs for claiming user date, supporting documents for claiming a rebate on application fees i.e. startup or MSME certificate, etc.

It might happen the uploaded documents are corrupted and the examiner is unable to open and view them. In such case the examiner marks the application of trademark status as formalities check fail and asks to submit the documents again.

  • Improper Information: 

All the information in the application must be filled properly as required. For example, the translation and transliteration must be provided if the brand name is in a language other than English or Hindi. The name, address and other details of the applicant must be as per the power of attorney; the user date must be mentioned properly, description of the image, etc. 

  • Brand name and logo are different: 

If the logo and the provided brand name are different from each other and the words mentioned in the logo do not match with the brand name, then the registry marks the status as ‘Formality check fail’. Hence, both the logo and the brand must correlate with each other.    

Actions to take

The ministry will issue a notice for formality check fail along with reasons issuing the same. The applicant has to file the reply within 30 days from the date of receipt of the notice. Ministry will mark the application as ABANDONED upon not receiving the response within the specified period. 

One can file the formality check response from the tab “MISCELLANEOUS REPLY” by selecting “REPLY TO FORMALITY CHECK (MIS-F)” and providing the application number. If in case mentioned specifically “TM-M”, then one needs to file that form.

If the ministry is satisfied with the reply, then it will process the application for the next stage. If the reply is not satisfactory then ministry may again mark the status as “Formalities Check Fail” 


One can avoid this stage by filling the correct information in online trademark application. Hence, to process smoothly the trademark must be filed through professionals. But sometime, due to technical reasons, one may come across this stage. It is simple to file the reply for the formalities check fail by clearing the issues raised by the ministry. 

Does your Trademark status show Formalities Check Fail?
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CS Shivani Vyas
About the Author

CS Shivani Vyas

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.