How do I register a trademark?
- Pick your mark and class. Identify a unique brand name that you want to register. Then you need to figure-out the closest class for your brand / product / service from the list of 45 classes of goods and services under Indian Trademark Law. For example, class for advertising agency is 35 and for leather goods is 18.
- Determine whether your mark is unique. Conduct a Trademark search using Indian Controller General of Patents and Trademarks website (click on Public Search) to see whether anyone else has a similar or same mark. Professional search firms and trademark lawyers can conduct a more thorough search.
- Complete the application form, submit application fee of Rs 4,500 (for e-filing) and required documents including address proof and image of your brand logo in a standard size of 9x5 cm.
- Wait for Registrar to make decision. Remember, you can’t use the ® symbol until you get approval. It usually takes between 10 to 16 months to get a registered trademark, so be patient. You can use the ™ symbol in the meantime.
- Maintain your trademark. The whole process of registration of a Trademark usually takes around 15 to 18 months. The trademark once accepted, is valid for a period of 10 years. After the end of 10 years, the trademark will need to be renewed.
What are examples of Trademark?A Trademark exclusively identify a particular business as the source of products or services. It is a recognizable name, letter, word, design or sign that distinguishes products or services of a particular business from those of others.For many companies, the single largest source of intangible value, means assets that you can’t touch unlike equipments, buildings, cash etc, is its trademark.Following are some examples of the most valued trademark names, as estimated by Brand Finance, in the world and represent a significant proportion of respective companies overall market capitalization:
- Google: With its trademark valued at $44.3 billion, Google is the largest search engine in the world. In fact, in its initial public offering filing, the company worried that the term “Google” could one day become synonymous with “search”, resulting in both a loss of trademark protection and reduced brand value.
- Microsoft: With its trademark valued at $42.8 billion, Microsoft is the number one software company in the world.
- Walmart: The largest retailer of the world, Walmart, has it’s trademark valued at $36.2 billion.
- IBM: With operations in 170 countries and holding more patents than any other company in the world, IBM has it’s trademark valued at $36.2 billion.
- Vodafone: One of the largest telecom operator in the world, Vodafone has its trademark valued at $30.7 billion.
- Bank of America: 2nd largest bank in the US, Bank of America has its trademark valued at $30.6 billion.
- GE: An American multinational conglomerate with businesses in aviations and healthcare to financing, GE has its trademark valued at $30.5 billion.
- Apple: Most known for its iconic iPhones, Apple Inc has its trademark valued at $29.5 billion.
What are different types of Trademark?Following are the different types of Trademarks:
What is the difference between a Trademark™ and a Copyright©?While both Trademark and Copyright offer intellectual property protection, they protect different types of assets.
- Copyright© protects original piece of literary and artistic creations such as books, plays, novels, paintings, movies, photographs and videos. It is aimed towards preventing others from copying or using the original creation. This is governed by Indian Copyright Act, 1957. It has international coverage and is issued for a lifetime to the rightful owner, plus an extra 60 years.
- Trademark™ protects brand identity by differentiating a product or service from that of the competitors. It is aimed towards protecting consumers from getting confused about a product or service with some similar product or service offered by competitors. This is governed by Trademarks Act, 1999. it covers a limited area, normally where the goods are traded. Normally it is issued for a period of 10 years, but it can be renewed.
What would happen if I used the ® symbol without registration?Using the ® symbol before you have a registered trademark is a legal offense. If you use the symbol unlawfully, you could face fraud charges for attempting to deceive consumers or making it difficult for other businesses to use the same trademark. You may also harm your chances of registering the same trademark in future.
My application for trademark registration is rejected. Can I use any symbol?Yes. You are free to continue using the ™ symbol with your product or service brand.
Are there shortcuts for typing copyright symbol © on my computer?
- MacBook: Open a document and press and hold the “Option” key and then press the “2” key to type the ™ trademark symbol.
- Macbook: Press and hold the “Option” key and then press the “g” key to type © copyright symbol.
- MacBook: Press the “Option” key and then press the “R” key to type ® registered symbol.
- PC: Open a document and press and hold the “Alt” key and the numbers 0153 to type ™ trademark symbol.
- PC: Press and hold the “Alt” key and the numbers 0169 to type © copyright symbol.
- PC: Press and hold the “Alt” key and the numbers 0174 to type ® registered symbol.
How long is a registered Trademark good for?Normally a registered Trademark is issued for a period of 10 years, but it can be renewed after paying prescribed fees.
How long does it take to register a Trademark?The complete process of registration of a Trademark usually takes anything between 15 to 18 months. The trademark once accepted, is valid for a period of 10 years from the date of issuance of the Certificate of Registration.
How much does it cost to register a Trademark?As per the website of Indian Controller General of Patents and Trademarks, the application fee for registering a Trademark is Rs 5,000 for physical registration and Rs 4,500 for e-filing for Individual, Startup and Small Enterprise.
How to select a good trademark?Choose a unique mark that would give you a distinct identity to your brand.If you are choosing a word, it should be easy to speak, spell and remember. You may come up with invented words or coined words such as Canon or SONY. You should avoid superlatives, personal or place names, or words that refer to quality or character (i.e. premium, super, best, perfect etc.). You should avoid selection of a geographical name, common personal name or surname. No one can have monopoly right on it.For visual marks, geometric design and logos, you should to pick a mark that will not cause consumer confusion in your specific market.You may want to conduct a market survey to ascertain if same or similar mark is used in market. For example, a stylised “M” graphic for a food company will definitely lead to confusion with Golden Arches logo of McDonald’s.
Does my trademark registration and the ® symbol protect me on internet?Yes. For a registered trademark, you can sue cybersquatters for damages and recover their domain names.Cybersquatters refer to people who register an identical or similar domain name to a registered trademark with an intention to profit by either selling the domain to the trademark holder at a higher price or deceive internet users, who are searching for the product or service of the trademark holder.You can collect all available evidence, from screen shots to content on the website and Whois records, and send a Cease and Desist letter or resort to litigation. Having an ® symbol for your brand will strengthen any case you file against cybersquatters.
Do you need help with Trademark registration?Hope you got a good sense of how Trademark can help you in your business, such as
- promote your product or service
- communicate a certain quality standards to your customers
- differentiate against competitors, and
- protect from unlawful infringements