Trademark Registration (TM)

Trademarks legally protect unique symbols or names that distinguish one company’s products or services from another’s in the marketplace.

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Pay the required fee online

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Overview of Trademark registration

Trademark registration in India provides legal protection for distinctive signs, symbols, logos, or names used to identify goods or services. The process involves filing an application with the Trademark Registry, which examines the mark for uniqueness and potential conflicts with existing trademarks. Once accepted, the mark is published in the Trademark Journal, allowing for objections. If no objections are raised, the trademark is registered and grants the owner exclusive rights to use the mark.

Registered trademarks safeguard against unauthorized use, enhancing brand value and consumer trust. The registration is valid for ten years and can be renewed indefinitely. This legal framework not only helps in protecting intellectual property but also promotes fair trade practices and encourages investment in brand development.

blank-paper-sheet-with-small-scooter-table
blank-paper-sheet-with-small-scooter-table

Trademark registration in India provides legal protection for distinctive signs, symbols, logos, or names used to identify goods or services. The process involves filing an application with the Trademark Registry, which examines the mark for uniqueness and potential conflicts with existing trademarks. Once accepted, the mark is published in the Trademark Journal, allowing for objections. If no objections are raised, the trademark is registered and grants the owner exclusive rights to use the mark.

Registered trademarks safeguard against unauthorized use, enhancing brand value and consumer trust. The registration is valid for ten years and can be renewed indefinitely. This legal framework not only helps in protecting intellectual property but also promotes fair trade practices and encourages investment in brand development.

Why Trademark Registration is Crucial

A trademark is more than just a symbol or logo; it’s a vital asset that represents your brand identity and distinguishes your products or services from competitors. Trademark registration provides several key benefits:

Legal Protection: Registration offers exclusive rights to use the trademark, protecting it from infringement.

Brand Recognition: A registered trademark enhances brand visibility and consumer trust.

Market Advantage: It helps prevent competitors from using similar marks and diluting your brand.

Asset Value: A registered trademark can be a valuable business asset and may be licensed or sold.

Types of Trademarks

Trademark registration can be categorized into several types based on the nature and characteristics of the mark, as well as the goods or services it represents. Here are the key types:

Word Marks
Device Marks (or Logo Marks)
Service Marks
Collective Marks
Certification Marks
Shape Marks
Pattern Marks
Sound Marks
Color Marks
Three-Dimensional Marks
Word Marks

These are standard character marks consisting of words, letters, numbers, or a combination of these. They don't contain any design element. For example, brand names in a specific text style.

Device Marks (or Logo Marks)

These involve graphical elements, symbols, or logos used to distinguish goods or services. They may or may not contain words.

Service Marks

Similar to trademarks, but specifically used to identify and distinguish services rather than products. For example, the names or logos of service providers.

Collective Marks

Owned by organizations (such as associations) and used by their members to indicate membership in the group, which signifies a certain level of quality or accuracy.

Color Marks

A trademark where a particular color or combination of colors is registered as a distinguishing feature.

Shape Marks

Trademarks where the key distinctive feature is the shape of the product or its packaging.

Pattern Marks

These are trademarks where a specific and distinctive pattern is the unique feature.

Sound Marks

Marks that are distinctive sounds associated with a product or service. The sound should be distinctive and graphically representable.

Certification Marks

These indicate that the goods or services on which they are used comply with a set of standards or are of a certain quality, material, mode of manufacture, or performance. Certification marks are not indicative of origin but rather of compliance with standards.

Three-Dimensional Marks

Trademarks that consist of a 3D shape and are used to identify the origin of goods or services.

Trademark Symbol

The two symbols associated with a trademark:

™ (the trademark symbol)

® (the registered trademark symbol)

Represent the status of a mark and its level of protection. With any common law usage of a mark, the trademark symbol can be used, and the symbol of a registered trademark is used only by the owner of a mark.

Who can Apply for Trademark Registration?

Individuals

Businesses

Foreign Entities

Joint Applicants

Documents required for Trademark Registration

Applicant Type

Required Documents

For Individuals & Sole Proprietorship

  • Identity Proof of the individual (such as PAN Card, Aadhaar Card).
  • Address Proof (such as Electricity Bill, Telephone Bill).
  • A signed Form-48 authorizing an Attorney or Trademark Agent for filing the application (if the filing is done by an agent).
  • Logo or the Trademark.
  • Proof of business registration or incorporation (if applicable).
  • A user affidavit if the mark has been in use before the application.

For Partnership Firms, LLPs & Companies

  • Incorporation Certificate or Partnership Deed.
  • Identity and Address proof of the signatory.
  • Logo or the Trademark.
  • A signed Form-48 authorizing an Attorney or Trademark Agent.
  • Board Resolution/Power of Attorney (in case of LLP/Company).
  • Proof of business registration or incorporation.
  • A user affidavit if the mark has been in use before the application.

Others (Trusts, Societies, etc.)

  • Certificate of registration of the Trust/Society.
  • Identity and Address proof of the signatory.
  • Logo or the Trademark.
  • A signed Form-48 authorizing an Attorney or Trademark Agent.
  • Proof of business registration or incorporation.
  • A user affidavit if the mark has been in use before the application.

Trademark Registration Process

Necessity: Before applying, it’s essential to conduct a trademark search to check for the availability of the desired trademark.

Purpose: This search helps identify any identical or similar trademarks already filed with the trademark registry.

Advantage: Entrepreneurs can create a unique brand name by combining generic terms or inventing new words.

• Process: After conducting a trademark search, an application for registration is filed with the Trademark Registrar. This can be done either in person or online at      one of the five Trademark Registrar Offices in the state.

• Application Allotment Number: Post-filing, an allotment number is issued within two to three days.

• Tracking: The trademark application status can be tracked online using the Online Trademark Search Tool.

• Use of TM Symbol: Post receiving the allotment number, the Trademark owner can use the TM symbol next to their logo.

Assignment: If the trademark contains logos or symbolic elements, the Indian Trademarks Registry assigns a Vienna code post-application.

  • Procedure: The application is assigned to a Trademark Officer who checks for accuracy and issues an examination report.
  • Acceptance or Objection: The Trademark Officer may either accept the application for journal publication or object to it.
  • Addressing Objections: If objected, the applicant can present their case to the Trademark Officer. If satisfied, the officer allows publication in the Trademark             Journal. If not, the decision can be appealed to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.

• Procedure: Accepted trademarks are published in the weekly Trademark Journal.

• Public Objection Period: The public has 90 days to object to the trademark registration.

• Registration: If no objections are filed, the trademark is usually registered within a month after the 90-day period.

• Hearing: In case of objections, a hearing is arranged where both parties can present their cases.

• Decision: The Trademark Hearing Officer decides whether to accept or reject the application, based on the hearings and evidence. This decision can also be              appealed to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.

• Issuance of Certificate: A trademark certificate is issued if no objections are filed within four months of publication, or if a hearing decision is in the applicant’s        favor.

• Completion: The registration process completes within a month of these conditions being met, and the applicant can then use the “R” symbol with their brand or      logo.

• Certificate Retrieval: The certificate is available online through the trademark site by entering the application number; physical copies are not provided.

Post Registration Compliances of trademark registration

Differences

Tabular comparison of trademarks, patents, and copyrights

Tabular comparison explaining the differences between trademark, patent, and copyright:

How V Smart Auditor Can Help ?

  • Trademark Searches

    V Smart Auditor conducts thorough trademark searches to ensure the proposed trademark is unique and doesn't infringe on existing trademarks.

  • Trademark Classifications

    They offer expert guidance on the appropriate trademark classes for registration, based on the nature of goods or services.

  • Application Preparation and Filing

    V Smart Auditor assists in preparing and filing trademark applications, ensuring all necessary documents are correctly submitted.

  • Legal Compliance

    They handle legal aspects, including responding to objections or oppositions, ensuring compliance with legal requirements.

  • Application Status Monitoring

    They continuously monitor the trademark application and keep clients updated on developments.

  • Post-Registration Support

    After registration, they provide ongoing support, including renewal reminders, trademark protection advice, and assistance in legal disputes or infringement cases.

Frequently Asked Questions'

Which Trademarks cannot be registered?

In the following cases, a trademark cannot be registered.

    ⦁ Any mark identical or similar to an existing registered trademark or
    ⦁ Trademark for which an application has been made cannot be registered.
    ⦁ Also, effects that would likely cause deception or confusion or are offensive may not be reported.
    ⦁ Geographical names, common names, common trade words, and common abbreviations can also not be registered as trademarks.

What are the precautions to be taken by the proprietor of a registered trademark to protect his rights?

⦁ The proprietor should use and renew the Trademark regularly and on time.

⦁ If others misuse the Trademark, he should file a suit for infringement and passing and take criminal action.

⦁ The proprietor should keep a watch regarding trademarks published in the Trademarks Journal and institute opposition proceedings if identical or deceptively similar trademarks exist.

When can use the TM or SM symbols?

⦁ The "TM" and "SM" designations are usually used as superscripts or subscripts after service marks and trademarks to inform the public that rights in the mark are being claimed.

⦁ These symbols may be used as soon as the mark is in use without any registration of the mark.

How are Trademark Rights established?

Trademark rights are established through either.

    (1) "Actual use" of the mark, or
    (2) The filing with a bona fide "intent to use" the mark in commerce.

When can I use the ® symbol?

⦁ The ® designation indicates that the mark is registered as a Trademark.

⦁ This symbol should not be used until a registration certificate has been issued on the mark.

Is trademark application valid all over the world?

No, a trademark registered in India is not valid worldwide.

What is the validity of a trademark?

A trademark is valid for 10 years from the date of filing. The owner of the Trademark can renew before the validity of the Trademark expires.

What happens when the trademark application gets refused?

If the trademark examiner sends a hearing notice to the applicant and if there is no response to the hearing notice within 30 days of receipt, then the application is automatically refused. In such a case, a new application needs to be filed.

What is the function of a Trademark?

⦁ The Trademark Identifies the goods or services and their origin and guarantees their unchanged quality.
⦁ The Trademark guarantees its unchanged quality. Trademark registration creates a brand identity or the images for the goods and services.