Trademark registration in India is a fairly simple process, given that the documents are in order and the fees being tendered are appropriate as per the rules.
Who can file a trademark?
Any person who is a proprietor of a business in which the trademark is being used can apply for trademark registration. Companies, partnership firms, trusts and societies may also file a trademark application.
The applicant may choose to engage a trademark attorney or agent for representing the applicant at the trademark registry.
Where the trademark application should be filed?
A trademark has to be filed with the Trademark Registry in India at any of its office at Mumbai, Ahemdabad, Chennai, Delhi or Kolkata, as per the principal place of the business.
What should I do before I file the trademark?
A proposed trademark should be thoroughly searched on the internet as well as Trademark Registry database so as to find out if there are marks which might be conflicting in nature with regards to the proposed mark. Though, it can be conducted by the business owner, it is recommended that an experienced attorney is entrusted with the work so that the legal implication of the search results can be ascertained. Otherwise, the business owner may get into legal hassles on a later stage.
What are the contents of the trademark application?
Based on a thorough trademark search, the trademark application has to be drafted carefully. If any other person in India is using a similar trademark for similar goods or services, the trademark registry may reject the application.
The trademark application usually contains the following details:
- Name and details of the proprietor of the trademark
- The principle place of business of the proprietor
- Type of mark – Word, Logo, Label, Device, Signature, Combination of colour etc
- The classes of goods and services to which the trademark belongs
- The description of goods and services
- The date from which the trademark has been used in course of business
What happens after the trademark application has been filed?
After the trademark application has been filed along with the requisite fee, the Trademark Registry takes the following actions :
1. Allots an application number
2. The application is then examined by an examiner in the Trademark Registry and an examination report is issued.
3. The examination report may contain objections as to why the registration should not be granted for the trademark. The examiner may also seek clarification regarding the trademark.
4. The applicant or his attorney needs to reply back with a written submission clarifying the objections of the examiner regarding the trademark.
5. If the examiner is satisfied, he accepts the application for registration. Otherwise, he issues a hearing notice to the Applicant.
6. The Applicant or his authorized attorney has to attend the hearing in person and justify the bonafide usage of the mark. The hearing stage is partly judicial in nature and therefore care should be taken regarding the evidences and statements which are given before the examiner.
7. If the examiner is satisfied after the hearing, the trademark application is accepted. Otherwise, the application is rejected at this stage.
8. After the acceptance of the trademark application, the trademark is advertised in the trademark journal published by the Trademark Registry.
9. After the trademark is advertised, it becomes open for other persons to oppose the registration of the trademark.
10. If the trademark is not opposed or the opposition to the trademark fails, a registration certificate for the trademark is issued which can be renewed every 10 years by paying the requisite fee.
It is highly recommended that trademark registration should be entrusted to an experienced attorney who can increase the value and benefits of the registered mark by minimizing the legal hurdles.
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