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If you are starting your own business, you wish to make it stand out, possessing it like your own child. A trademark helps you in that process. It is not just an add-on, as many would lead you on with. It helps you acquire an individual right that you can use to promote the quality of your goods. In a competitive market, identical products are inevitable. In order to make yours stand out in the crowd, you need this trademark for your brand name.
What is Trademark?
A trademark is a symbol or a logo that is used to distinguish your product from the similar ones produced or manufactured by your competitors. The term Trademark is the legal term for “intellectual property”.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is in charge of this trademark registration in India. Under this ministry, trademarks are listed by the Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks. Trademarks are legally protected by the Trademark Act, 1999.
Trademark Registration is a legal procedure under the Trade Marks Act, 1999, through which you can protect your brand or logo by restricting other people from using the same. Trademark registration allows you absolute ownership of the logo/name/brand.
Who can apply for trademark registration?
Anyone with the requirement of obtaining a trademark can apply for trademark registration. We can look into the diversity of the applicants:
- An Individual Person
An individual who is the sole owner of his business can apply for a trademark for his/her products. But doing business is not a criterion for trademark registration. If someone who is not doing any business but wants to obtain a trademark for a word or symbol that is proposed to be used by him/her alone in the future is also eligible for trademark registration.
- Joint Owners
Joint owners together can decide to file a trademark application. Names of both the person should be mentioned on the trademark application.
- Proprietorship Firm
The full name of the Proprietor is required for the application. A business name or proprietorship name is not acceptable, however, it can be included in the application as an addition to the name of an individual applicant.
- Partnership Firm
The names of all the partners are essential to the application. Partnership firms are never considered as separate legal entities. If a minor is involved in the partnership, the name of the guardian representing the minor should be mentioned along with the minor.
- Limited Liability Partnership
The application for registration must be made in the name of the LLP and the trademark belongs to the LLP.
- Trust or Society
The name of the Managing Trustee or Chairman or Secretary representing the Trust or Society is mentioned in the application.
Why is it important?
You need to have a trademark for the following reasons:
1. A trademark is an ‘intellectual property’ hence is a valuable asset for your business. The value of your trademark is scaled up with the growth of your business.
2. The trademark gives you exclusive rights over your products, which means any third part is legally barred from any unauthorized use. Your brand is secured and protected.
3. A registered trademark gives your brand a unique identity.
4. The trademark speaks for itself, hence as it scales up, you don’t need to slog over communicating about your brand. The trademark is enough to ensure your credibility. And trademarks last forever.
5. It becomes easy for the customers to find you and be not misled by imitated products. So you can have a base of loyal customers, reliant on your trademark.
Acquiring the trademark may take some time, but the acquisition is worth the time and effort. We have briefed up the steps in a simplified manner for you:
Step 1: Trademark Search
This search is done to check if your business name or logo is similar to some already existing registered trademarks. The search is generally conducted by the trademark agent or attorney. Both online and offline searches are available. It is always advised that you get both searches done. You can proceed to the next step only when found to be unique.
Step 2: Creating the application
Once the results of the conducted search are sanctioned as unique, the trademark attorney drafts a trademark application. In case it is not found unique then you need to change yours. But if you claim that the trademark is rightfully yours and you have been using it for a long time even before other party trademark registration, you can start using the ™ symbol as you file the form of a trademark application.
Step 3: Trademark Registration
The Trademarks Office will first check your application to see if the symbol is already taken. If it is, a trademark objection will rise automatically. In case of no objection, your trademark makes an advertisement in the Trade Marks Journal. If no opposition is raised by other businesses in the next four months, your trademark is registered approximately six months later.