Trademarks FAQs

Trademarks

  • I have an idea- How to protect it?

    If the idea involves a technical product/process or combination of both then it can be protected by filing a patent application. This is called utility application.

    If the requirement is to protect the aesthetic look/ design of the product then file an application for design.

    If it’s a logo or a brand name then file an application for Trademark.

    If it’s a literary or artistic then it can be protected by filing an application for copyright.

  • How do I know if my Brand or Logo is already known?

    A detailed search may be conducted in the respective patent office’s platform using various combinations of words, logos etc. to know if such a brand or logo already exists. For example: For branding in India (Indian Patent office), for branding in USA (USPTO) etc.

  • What is a trademark?

    A Trade mark (™) means a mark capable of being represented graphically and which is capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one person from those of others. The trademark protection may include shape of goods, their packaging and combination of colours. Ex: COCA-COLA, APPLE, MICROSOFT, FAB INDIA etc.

  • What is a registered mark?

    Indicated by the symbol ® the mark is a symbol of registered services. Also a registered TM can be represented by this symbol once registration is complete.

  • When is a trademark protection sought?

    Once it is decided that a logo or brand name of one’s interest is not in public domain a trademark protection is sought.

  • Why should I register a Trademark?

    Trademarks are the communication tool between your brand and the customer. Hence it becomes very important to register a trademark and seek protection from copying and using it on counterfeit goods.

  • Who can apply for a Trademark?

    An individual, a company, a proprietor or a legal entity who claim their ownership to the Trademark can apply.

  • Can multiple parties (persons) file for a single mark?

    When two or more persons use a trademark, they may apply for registration of a trade mark as joint proprietors. Section 24 of Trademark Act enables registration of two or more persons to be registered as joint proprietors of the trademark.

  • Is a copy of the logo or trademark are required to be submitted?

    Yes, a copy of the logo or trademark intended to be filed needs to be submitted along with other statutory requirements.

  • What is the procedure to register trademarks in India?

    An application for registration of trademarks must be filed in person or through an online platform to the office of CGPTDM with an applicable statutory fee. It is recommended that the trademark may be filed under the guidance of a qualified attorney or trademark agent.

  • How long does a trademark last?

    A trademark is valid for 10 years from the date of application. It can be perpetual provided the trademark is renewed before the expiration of this timeline.

  • When can application for renewal of a Trademark be filed?

    Anytime within 6 months to the expiry date of the trademark.

  • Can smell be a trademark?

    Till now there have been no smell marks registered in India.

  • Can Taste be a trademark?

    No, Taste cannot be trademarked. But its name or a phrase associated with its name can be filed.

  • What can be trademarked?

    Section 2(V) (m) of the Trademarks act 1999 states that “mark” includes a device, brand, heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, shape of goods, packaging or combination of colours or any combination thereof.

  • Who is the issuing authority for Trademarks?

    The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) administers the statutory protection to the trademarks.

  • What is priority date of a Trademark? What is the difference between Priority date and Application Filing Date of a Trademark?

    The date on which the mark was first used is known as the priority date of the trademark. Whereas, the application filing date is the date when a mark was filed to obtain protection. The priority date of a mark is helpful while filing for a protection in a foreign country.

  • I file a trademark in India, does this protect me in other countries?

    No, there is no concept of single worldwide trademark.

  • What is an examination of a Trademark application?

    A Trademark application is examined by the Trade Marks Office in about two to four months’ time from the filing date and objections are raised, if any. These objections are based on either:

    Section 9- Absolute Grounds for refusal of registration (distinctiveness, devoid of distinctive character, not capable of distinguishing goods or services etc.) and/or
    Section 11- Relative Grounds for refusal of registration (similarity/identity with earlier trademark already existing on the Trade Marks Register).

    When an examination report is issued, a response must be filed within one month from the receipt of the examination report. In case of not responding within the due date, the application shall be “deemed to have been abandoned”. If the response filed is convinced by the Trademark Registrar, the application is advertised in the Trademarks Journal. But, if the Trademark Registrar has any further objections, the Applicant shall be called for attending show cause hearing.
    If no objections as mentioned above, the trademark shall be advertised in the Trademark Journal.

  • What is meant by publication of a trademark application?

    It means that the Trademark registration has been accepted without any objection or with few objections and is published in the Trademark Journal and is also open to oppositions to be raised if any.

  • What is an objection to a trademark?

    A trademark objection is issued by the examiner of Trademarks.

  • Can another person raise objection to my trademark application?

    No, a trademark objection can be raised only by the examiner examining the trademark application.

  • How to respond to an objection raised regarding my trademark?

    A response to the objection in a clear and crisp manner is to be given by the applicant within 30 days of the issuance of the examination report in which the objection was raised.

  • What is an opposition to a Trademark?

    A third-party opposition is allowed by filing form TM_5 as per the Indian Trademark act, 1999. The third party can be in the same or different field of business than the field of the applicant’s business or company or an individual who feels that the registration of the proposed trademark is going to harm one’s business.

  • Are trademarks valid worldwide?

    No, there is no concept of single worldwide trademark.

  • How to protect your trademark internationally?

    Trademark applications can be filed internationally under the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid Protocol is a WIPO administered treaty for filing international trademarks.
    Under this, a single application can be submitted to protect the Trademark in the respective Madrid Protocol Countires (https://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.jsp?treaty_id=8).

  • Are Trademarks transferable?

    Yes, they are. Provided they can be transferred through proper assignment of rights.

  • What is trademark licensing?

    The owner of the trademark (Proprietor) formally approves another party (licensee) to either make, distribute or both as per the agreement between the two

  • If a Registered Trademark owner enters into franchise agreement with respect to his brand with another party, will that affect his trademark ownership in any way?

    The ownership of Trademark does not affect with franchise Agreement.
    In case of a franchise agreement, the franchisor having registered trademark must state the word marks/symbols in the agreement. Also, mention the prohibition the usage of the trademark by franchisee post-termination of the franchise agreement.

  • Can a foreign national (person/entity) file an application in India?

    Yes, a foreign national can apply for trademark protection in India.

  • When can I start using Trademark or registered mark?

    The TM symbol can be used once an application has been filed and R symbol can be used once the trademark is formally registered.

  • Is there any prescribed guideline for placing TM / R around the trademark?

    The TM symbol is used for pending unregistered marks covering both goods and services; while, R symbol is used for registered marks.

  • What is the difference between TM and SM?

    A trademark identifies goods whereas a service mark distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods.

  • What is the validity of Trademark?

    Trademarks are valid for 10 years from the date of filing the application and must be renewed every 10 years.

  • What happens if we do not file renewal of Trademark?

    The trademark is abandoned.

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