A Trade Mark is a mark capable of being represented graphically
and of distinguishing a person's goods or services from those
of others. Examples of traditional forms of trade mark include
word marks, logos, device marks, slogans, letter marks or
Over a period of time, several other forms of trade marks have
become popular and such marks are referred to as non-conventional
or non-traditional marks. Examples of such marks include colour
marks, shape of goods, their packaging, three dimensional marks,
sound marks, smell marks, taste marks etc.
As the Indian Law categorically states that a trade mark must be
capable of being represented graphically, some of the
non-traditional marks are difficult to register in India. However,
certain sound marks like the Yahoo doodle have indeed been allowed
Background Of Indian Trade Marks Law
The Trade Marks Act, 1999 was enforced on September 15,
2003 and was amended by Trade Marks (Amendment) Act, 2010
which now governs the Trade Mark Law in India. The new Act was
implemented to introduce various other provisions in conformity
with the International Trade Mark Law. The Trade Marks
(Amendment) Rules 2013 were made to give effect to the Trade Mark
(Amendment) Act 2010. By notification dated 8th July 2013, the
Trade Marks (Amendment) Act 2010 and the Trade Marks (Amendment)
Rules, 2013 came in to force to enable India to accede to the
Madrid Protocol. In 2014, the government further amended certain
provisions of the Trade Marks Rules 2002.
The Indian Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is the primary
office, which comprises of the Trade Marks Registry, The Patent
Office, and The Designs Office in India. The Trade Marks Registry
has 5 branches in India at New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and
Ahmedabad which cover 5 zones in India. The functioning of the
Trade Marks Registry is decentralized and all offices are empowered
to handle cases of their jurisdiction. The 5 Trade Mark Offices
share a central database and any registrations or decisions issued
by such branches are valid all over India.
While an Indian applicant has to file applications in the
Registry in its zone, a foreign applicant can choose to file an
application where its representative Law Firm has an office.
India is a signatory to major international treaties affecting
Trade Marks including, but not limited to, the Paris Convention;
the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol; the TRIPS Agreement;
the Nice Agreement and the Vienna Agreement. Details regarding the
Madrid Protocol in India may be found here
It takes about 18 – 24 months to obtain a trade mark
registration in India and the time frame may vary depending on
complexity of the proceedings.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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