India Kickstart packages start at Rs. 2,000/- per class (Govt. Fees at actuals)
•Class identification for product or services
•Trademark Application, follow up and registration
•Timely update on status of application, objections and hearings
•Business hour support with Experts – phone and E-mail
Trademark is any unique expression related to a product or service that distinguishes it from others. This expression could be a word, slogan, photograph, logo, graphic, colour combination, sound or even smell; however, most businesses are only looking for a brand name registration or logo registration. Owners of trademarks have exclusive rights to their use under the categories they are registered in (there are a total of 45 categories, called classes).
Trademark registration enables owners to easily establish their right to the trademark in court and earn royalties. It also deters piracy and prevents similar company names from being registered by other businesses. You can conduct a trademark search, to check if your brand name clashes with existing trademarks. In India, you could get a ™ within three days as “TM”, but it takes up to two years for it to be registered so that you can use the ® symbol.
Advantages of Trademark Registration
If you believe your registered trademark is being infringed, it is easy to establish your right to it in court. If you haven’t registered the word, slogan or logo, you would not be able to do so. Particularly in sectors in which piracy is rampant, trademark registration is essential.
A trademark is an intangible asset that can be enormously valuable, should your brand succeed. Think of Tide, Nike or McDonald’s. Businesses can earn huge money in royalties through licensing agreements or even transfer ownership to interested parties through assignment agreements.
You would want your customers to identify your products or services with yours only. Registering your trademark is the first step toward ensuring this. The court would then stop any similar words or slogans from being registered.
6 Essential Facts on Trademark
What is a trademark?
A trademark is essentially a characteristic of your brand. It could be your brand name, your brand’s logo, or even your brand’s slogan. For example, ‘Maggie’, the ‘Audi’, or the slogan ‘Just 2 minutes’. In some cases, the brand’s name and logo are combined into one, as in the case of BMW, or Coca-Cola. That is called a Logo Composite Mark.
Who owns a trademark?
A trademark grants you commercial rights to sell a particular brand name in a certain sector of the economy. There are 45 sectors and each sector is called a class. For instance, Class 28 refers to Toys, Games, and Sports. So if you want to protect your toy brand, you need to make an application under Class 28 and get exclusive commercial rights, to sell your brand of toys under that class.
Is my trademark available?
If you have a certain brand name, or a logo, or a slogan in mind, we can do a trademark search for you. A simple way to do this yourself, is to just go online to the internet and check if there is a similar company with a similar name to yours, on the internet. You should also check if the domain name of your brand is available or not.
What if the trademark is taken?
No need to worry. If your trademark brand name is taken, you can prepare a Logo Composite Mark by combining your logo and your name, and apply as one. This is a common strategy used to apply for a trademark, even if the trade name itself has been taken.
What do I need to provide?
You need to give us a signed letter, allowing us to apply for your trademark. This is called an Authorisation Letter. Once an Authorisation Letter has been received, we prepare your documents, make the application for you online, and pay the necessary fees. Almost instantly, you get a confirmation of the application and you can start using the ™ symbol next to your name.
How long does it take?
The trademark registration application process is done almost instantly. It can be done within a few hours of you giving us your Authorization Letter. The Government, after we make the application, takes 18 to 24 months, to confirm the registration and give you the confirmed Registration Certificate for your trademark. You can then use the ® symbol next to your name.
What is a Trademark class?
The Trademark Registry has classified goods and services under 45 classes. Your application must mention the class/classes the goods/services represent. The trademark would be registered under those classes only.
What Trademark applications are commonly rejected?
If your trademark is similar to an existing application, would hurt religious sentiments, contains geographical names or common words. It would also be rejected if it is likely to cause confusion. So you can’t register the word ‘car’ for a car brand, but may do so for a brand of electronics.
When can I use TM symbol?
As soon as you file the application, you receive an acknowledgement, which gives you the right to use the ™ symbol. Once it’s registered, you can use the ® symbol.
How can I run a trademark search?
Before settling on a brand name, you need to check if it can acquire the legal rights necessary to hold on it. This is because the commercial rights to a brand name belong to the owner of its trademark. To find out if yours has already been taken, you can run a trademark search, which is basically a database search of India’s Intellectual Property Database. Now, running the search is easy. Begin by selecting the wordmark and typing in the word/s you want to register. The results will tell you whether there already is another registration in that name.
If there is one, check its status. If it is either approved, applied, objected or opposed, it makes sense to pick another name. Do also check for phonetic similarities with other registered names. To do this, you need to select the dropdown at the top of the page. While the phonetic search isn’t very accurate, you can say with certainty that your trademark will be approved if there aren’t any relevant matches here either.
What if my trademark is taken, but under a different class?
If your brand name has already been registered, but under a different class, you’re still in luck. Unless the brand is too well known (McDonald’s or Fiat, let’s say), your application is likely to be approved. If, on the other hand, a trademark has been registered by another brand after you began using it, you should take the matter seriously. Find out the origin of the goods and send the office a cease-and-desist letter. Although it does not apply exclusively to intellectual property, such a letter is usually sent in cases of infringement. If the party does not cease and desist from selling the goods with your trademark within the time mentioned in the letter, you may take them to court.
What if someone has a similar word trademarked?
You can’t get the word, but all is not lost. You could instead design a unique logo for your business and include the name in it. Take BMW as an example. The BMW is within the logo. A prefix would also be permissible. This is known as a logo composite mark. So there is a way out, but it is best to have a unique name.
Do you Guarantee approval of my trademark?
It depends entirely on government’s judgement. But if it is unique, it is highly likely that it will be granted.
Should I file the trademark in my own name?
Many start-up founders register it in their own names, while large businesses would prefer to do so in the name of the company. This is because the future of a start-up is always in doubt. If owned by the founder, the trademark would be valid regardless of the state of the company. A trademark license agreement is, however, needed in this case.
What are the different kinds of trademarks I can have?
Any expression of your brand that distinguishes it from all other brands can be trademarked. This, therefore, includes your brand name, logo or slogan. New brands need only bother themselves with these three types, though more successful brands, that have much more to protect, trademark much else. Levis, for example, has trademarked the position of its red label on all its jeans. Cadbury’s fought hard to maintain exclusive rights to use the colour purple on packaging for chocolate, but ultimately lost the dispute with Nestle. Young start-ups, however, tend only to trademark a word or logo or else register a logo composite mark (when text is included within the logo).
What is difference between Trademark, copyright and patent?
Trademarks and copyrights are both intellectual property, but serve different purposes. A copyright applies to literary and audio-visual (music, photographs, movies) works. So it’s an exclusive right granted to the creator or author of a book, script, software, music, photograph or movie. The owner has the right to stop the publication of any work that shares similarities with his/her work, unless it has been fairly used. Registration is not necessary. However, as copyright infringement has become commonplace in the Internet age, and you need a registration to take the matter to court, copyright registration has gained importance.
A patent is a right granted for a product or process to an individual or enterprise. This right grants its owner the ability to exclude others from making, using, selling or importing the patented product or process without prior approval. In exchange for this right, the applicant must fully disclose the invention. A patent is valid for 20 years, after which it falls into the public domain.
Trademark Registration Process
2 WORKING HOURS
We first run a trademark search to check whether your unique name or logo or one sounding very similar to it has already been taken. Once it is confirmed, you must make the payment for the entire process. We will then send you an authorisation letter, which you must sign and return to us so that our lawyers can file your trademark application on your behalf.
3 WORKING DAYS
This form asks for basic details about you (or your business, in case the trademark is being registered in its name), and the logo, word, slogan you’re registering. Pictures must be sent in the JPEG format only. Trademarks must be registered for a particular sector. So if you want to register a trademark in multiple categories, we need to file multiple Form-1s and you would have to pay for them separately. As soon as the form is filed, you can start using the ™ symbol.
The Trade Marks Office will first check your application to see if it’s already been taken. If it has, a trademark objection will be raised. The government may also object if it finds the logo obscene, hurts religious sentiments or believes that it is likely to cause confusion. If it has no objection, it makes an advertisement in the Trade Marks Journal. If there is no opposition from other businesses in the next four months, your trademark is registered around six months later. We will check the status of your application regularly over the entire 18 months and keep you up-to-date on the status.
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About India Kickstart
Just tell us a little bit about your business and you’ll have the incorporation certificate in 20 working days. It’s that simple. In addition to yours, we’ll be handling around 400 requests this month.
We make your interaction with government as smooth as is possible by doing all the paperwork for you. We will also give you absolute clarity on the process to set realistic expectations.
Our team of experienced business advisors are a phone call away, should you have any queries about the process. But we’ll try to ensure that your doubts are cleared before they even arise.