India: The Trade Mark Registration Timeline In India

What does trade mark exactly stand for and why register a trade mark??

Well, if you're starting a new business or trade, a logo, name or signature is the first thing you choose to separate yourself from the rest. People are becoming aware of the necessity of protecting their logos and brand name since, the goods and services are known by their logos and protection of it is utmost essential for a brand owner and from persons who may tend to imitate the exact logo of a registered trade mark. A Trade Mark is a recognizable sign, design, or expression which identifies products or services of a particular source from those of others, although trademarks used to identify services are usually called service marks. Registering a trademark is a legal process provided for under the Trade Marks Act, 1999.

A Trade mark as mentioned is a 'brand' or 'logo' that one can use to distinguish one's product from those of his/her competitors. Trade Marks are capable of being represented graphically and is capable of distinguishing the goods and services from those of others. Trade Marks are considered as a marketing tool so that customers can recognize the product of a particular trader. As, it is known that Trade Marks confer upon the owner, the exclusive rights to use the brand and earn goodwill from their business and obtain legal relief in respect of infringement of the trade mark as well as the power to assign (transfer) the trade marks to others for consideration.

Trade Mark is a liberty given to owners of any enterprise or companies to have its own brand and protect the logo from being imitated so that consumers can identify the goods or services easily. For seeking such protection, owners or the right holders apply for the registration of their logo through filing an application. Having done the trade mark registration, one can protect its brand or logo by restricting others to use it. For example: Coca- Cola is a registered trade mark which is known for its goodwill and is itself a well-known trade mark. Unauthorised utilization of such mark leads to an illegal act which amounts to infringement.

In India, The Registration of Trade mark is done by the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trade marks. Trade mark Act, 1999 provides for registration of trademark and offers remedies if infringement of trademark occurs.

For registering a trade mark, the first step to be taken is to consult a renowned Trade Mark Lawyer in India for seeking advice and knowledge regarding the mark and the steps to be taken regarding the same. There are certain processes which need to be followed and the first and foremost step is to conduct a trademark search before filing in order to make sure there is no similar or identical trade mark which has been registered earlier and as mentioned in Section 18 of the Act, application for trade mark registry can be made in various forms. A single application can be made for trade marks for different classes of goods and services and prescribed fees must be paid for each class of goods and services. 

After completion of the initial formalities, the trade mark application is then accepted and the Registrar publishes the application in the trade mark journal within six months of such acceptance. In the process of registration of trade mark, an advertisement is made so as to afford the public an opportunity to oppose the registration of the mark giving the opponents a chance to defend their marks against marks which may be similar or identical to theirs.

Furthermore, within four months from the advertisement of the trade mark application, any person can oppose the trade mark registration application by submitting a written notice as well as paying prescribed fees to the registrar. If any person opposes the trade mark then, after the receipt of the notice of opposition, the Registrar serves the same to the applicant of the opposed mark within two months. Thus, within two months of the receipt of such notice to the applicant, a counter statement is to be filed to the registrar. This counter – statement is basically served to the opponent by the registrar as well. Based on these oppositions and counter statements, the registrar decides whether the trade mark is to be accepted or not. Both the parties have the liberty to appeal against the decision of the Registrar and an appeal can be made before Intellectual Property Appellate Board.

Lastly, after all the procedures are followed, the Registrar accepts the trade mark, and eventually enters the trade mark on the register since the consultation of the applicant with a reputed Lawyer has beared fruitful results which leads to registering the mark in the register which is maintained by the Registrar. On the registration of the Trade Mark, the Registrar issues to the applicant a Trade Mark Registration Certificate. The whole process of trade mark registration is not to exceed the period of 12 months from the date of application as per the Trade marks Act of 1999.

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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