What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a distinctive symbol, word, or series of words that identifies a brand or business, and recognizes it as a type of Intellectual Property. For example, the symbol of an apple with a bite taken out is a trademark belonging to Apple. Most consumers immediately associate products carrying a trademark with their expectations of that brand.

Why do you need to register a Trademark?

Without registering a trademark, you cannot avail comprehensive protection in courts if another company uses your logo to promote their brand. This infringement can cause confusion for your consumers, and will usually result in your company’s image being diluted.

Did you know that those who infringe on your registered trademark can be penalized? If your trademark has been infringed upon, there is a good chance you could receive monetary compensation for damages to your brand. On the flip side, if your trademark hasn’t been registered and if you later learn of its similarity to another brand’s trademark, you could face a hefty penalty, or even be forced to change your company and trademark, and give up all profits earned by the use of the unregistered trademark.

Who can apply for a Trademark?

Any person who claims to be the proprietor of the trademark can apply for the Trademark registration, but must clearly identify themselves as the proprietor. This person can be an individual, a group of people (in case of collective Trademarks), a company, a partnership firm, a society, etc.

What are the different types of Trademark?

Since the term "trademark" is globally recognized, it is often used as an umbrella term for various kinds of trademarks. However, here are the different categories of trademarks:

  • Product Mark: This trademark represents products or goods, rather than a service.
  • Service Mark: This trademark represents a service. For example, Yahoo provides search capability services, so they can choose to use SM.
  • Collective Mark: Collective mark is used by a group of companies (or any collective group). This trademark can be used by multiple people but they must all adhere to the rules of the collective. This type of trademark is protected by the group collectively. A well-recognized example would be the Chartered Accountant mark.
  • Certification Mark: This trademark is used to denote a standard, and it guarantees the consumer that the product, its manufacture and its quality is in line with the certification proprietor. For example, the Woolmark logo is used to certify that goods are 100 percent wool.
  • Pattern Mark: A pattern mark is used when the product design involves a pattern that is identified with the brand. For example, Louis Vuitton’s brown and beige checkerboard pattern is often identified as its signature.
  • Sound Mark: A sound mark is a trademark where an audio mnemonic does the function of uniquely identifying the origin of a product or a service. We frequently come across sound marks at the start or end of TV ads and radio commercials. A popular example of a sound mark is the lion’s roar used in MGM movies.
  • Shape Mark: This trademark is used to protect a unique shape from being used by other companies and competitors. An example of a shape mark is Toblerone chocolate--it has a distinctive shape which is identifiable with the brand.
The Nice Classification
Class List of terms
1 Chemicals for use in industry, science and photography, as well as in agriculture, horticulture and forestry; Unprocessed artificial resins, unprocessed plastics; Fire extinguishing and fire prevention compositions; Tempering and soldering preparations; Substances for tanning animal skins and hides; Adhesives for use use in industry; Putties and other paste fillers; Compost, manures, fertilizers; Biological preparations for use in industry and science
2 Paints, varnishes, lacquers; Preservatives against rust and against deterioration of wood; Colorants, dyes; Inks for printing, marking and engraving; Raw natural resins; Metals in foil and powder form for use in painting, decorating, printing and art
3 Non-medicated cosmetics and toiletry preparations; Non-medicated dentifrices; Perfumery, essential oils; Bleaching preparations and other substances for laundry use; Cleaning, polishing, scouring and abrasive preparations
4 Industrial oils and greases, wax; Lubricants; Dust absorbing, wetting and binding compositions; Fuels and illuminants; Candles and wicks for lighting
5 Pharmaceuticals, medical and veterinary preparations; Sanitary preparations for medical purposes; Dietetic food and substances adapted for medical or veterinary use, food for babies; Dietary supplements for human beings and animals; Plasters, materials for dressings; Material for stopping teeth, dental wax; Disinfectants; Preparations for destroying vermin; Fungicides, herbicides
6 Common metals and their alloys, ores; Metal materials for building and construction; Transportable buildings of metal; Non-electric cables and wires of common metal; Small items of metal hardware; Metal containers for storage or transport; Safes
7 Machines, machine tools, power-operated tools; Motors and engines, except for land vehicles; Machine coupling and transmission components, except for land vehicles; Agricultural implements, other than hand-operated hand tools; Incubators for eggs; Automatic vending machines
8 Hand tools and implements, hand-operated; Cutlery; Side arms, except firearms; Razors
9 Scientific, research, navigation, surveying, photographic, cinematographic, audiovisual, optical, weighing, measuring, signalling, detecting, testing, inspecting, life-saving and teaching apparatus and instruments; Apparatus and instruments for conducting, switching, transforming, accumulating, regulating or controlling the distribution or use of electricity; Apparatus and instruments for recording, transmitting, reproducing or processing sound, images or data; Recorded and downloadable media, computer software, blank digital or analogue recording and storage media; Mechanisms for coin-operated apparatus; Cash registers, calculating devices; Computers and computer peripheral devices; Diving suits, divers' masks, ear plugs for divers, nose clips for divers and swimmers, gloves for divers, breathing apparatus for underwater swimming; Fire-extinguishing apparatus
10 Surgical, medical, dental and veterinary apparatus and instruments; Artificial limbs, eyes and teeth; Orthopedic articles; Suture materials; Therapeutic and assistive devices adapted for the disabled; Massage apparatus; Apparatus, devices and articles for nursing infants; Sexual activity apparatus, devices and articles
11 Apparatus and installations for lighting, heating, cooling, steam generating, cooking, drying, ventilating, water supply and sanitary purposes
12 Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water
13 Firearms; Ammunition and projectiles; Explosives; Fireworks
14 Precious metals and their alloys; Jewellery, precious and semi-precious stones; Horological and chronometric instruments
15 Musical instruments; Music stands and stands for musical instruments; Conductors' batons
16 Paper and cardboard; Printed matter; Bookbinding material; Photographs; Stationery and office requisites, except furniture; Adhesives for stationery or household purposes; Drawing materials and materials for artists; Paintbrushes; Instructional and teaching materials; Plastic sheets, films and bags for wrapping and packaging; Printers' type, printing blocks
17 Unprocessed and semi-processed rubber, gutta-percha, gum, asbestos, mica and substitutes for all these materials; Plastics and resins in extruded form for use in manufacture; Packing, stopping and insulating materials; Flexible pipes, tubes and hoses, not of metal
18 Leather and imitations of leather; Animal skins and hides; Luggage and carrying bags; Umbrellas and parasols; Walking sticks; Whips, harness and saddlery; Collars, leashes and clothing for animals
19 Materials, not of metal, for building and construction; Rigid pipes, not of metal, for building; Asphalt, pitch, tar and bitumen; Transportable buildings, not of metal; Monuments, not of metal
20 Furniture, mirrors, picture frames; Containers, not of metal, for storage or transport; Unworked or semi-worked bone, horn, whalebone or mother-of-pearl; Shells; Meerschaum; Yellow amber
21 Household or kitchen utensils and containers; Cookware and tableware, except forks, knives and spoons; Combs and sponges; Brushes, except paintbrushes; Brush-making materials; Articles for cleaning purposes; Unworked or semi-worked glass, except building glass; Glassware, porcelain and earthenware
22 Ropes and string; Nets; Tents and tarpaulins; Awnings of textile or synthetic materials; Sails; Sacks for the transport and storage of materials in bulk; Padding, cushioning and stuffing materials, except of paper, cardboard, rubber or plastics; Raw fibrous textile materials and substitutes therefor
23 Yarns and threads, for textile use
24 Textiles and substitutes for textiles; Household linen; Curtains of textile or plastic
25 Clothing, footwear, headwear
26 Lace, braid and embroidery, and haberdashery ribbons and bows; Buttons, hooks and eyes, pins and needles; Artificial flowers; Hair decorations; False hair
27 Carpets, rugs, mats and matting, linoleum and other materials for covering existing floors; Wall hangings, not of textile
28 Games, toys and playthings; Video game apparatus; Gymnastic and sporting articles; Decorations for Christmas trees
29 Meat, fish, poultry and game; Meat extracts; Preserved, frozen, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables; Jellies, jams, compotes; Eggs; Milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt and other milk products; Oils and fats for food
30 Coffee, tea, cocoa and artificial coffee; Rice, pasta and noodles; Tapioca and sago; Flour and preparations made from cereals; Bread, pastries and confectionery; Chocolate; Ice cream, sorbets and other edible ices; Sugar, honey, treacle; Yeast, baking-powder; Salt, seasonings, spices, preserved herbs; Vinegar, sauces and other condiments; Ice [frozen water]
31 Raw and unprocessed agricultural, aquacultural, horticultural and forestry products; Raw and unprocessed grains and seeds; Fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs; Natural plants and flowers; Bulbs, seedlings and seeds for planting; Live animals; Foodstuffs and beverages for animals; Malt
32 Beers; Non-alcoholic beverages; Mineral and aerated waters; Fruit beverages and fruit juices; Syrups and other non-alcoholic preparations for making beverages
33 Alcoholic beverages, except beers; Alcoholic preparations for making beverages
34 Tobacco and tobacco substitutes; Cigarettes and cigars; Electronic cigarettes and oral vaporizers for smokers; Smokers' articles; Matches
35 Advertising; Business management; Business administration; Office functions
36 Insurance; Financial affairs; Monetary affairs; Real estate affairs
37 Building construction; Repair; Installation services
38 Telecommunications
39 Transport; Packaging and storage of goods; Travel arrangement
40 Treatment of materials
41 Education; Providing of training; Entertainment; Sporting and cultural activities
42 Scientific and technological services and research and design relating thereto; Industrial analysis and industrial research services; Design and development of computer hardware and software
43 Services for providing food and drink; Temporary accommodation
44 Medical services; Veterinary services; Hygienic and beauty care for human beings or animals; Agriculture, horticulture and forestry services
45 Legal services; Security services for the physical protection of tangible property and individuals; Personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals

What is the procedure for registering a Trademark in India?

Step 1 Conducting a Trademark Search

Well before you apply for registration, a trademark professional will help you conduct a search using the trademark database to ensure that your trademark isn’t infringing on existing registered trademarks. Alternatively, you can do this yourself by exploring the Trademark Registrar Website and database https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/eregister/eregister.asp

Step 2 Filing the Application

After ensuring that your trademark is distinctive enough to be registered, the next step is filing the application with the Trademark Registrar, and paying the fee for registration. This should be done at one of the five Trademark Registrar Offices in India which has jurisdiction over the state in question, or can even be done online. Although you can file your application as an individual, it is recommended that you use a service like Trademarkreg.in or a trademark attorney to avoid hitches on the way.

Step 3 Receiving The Trademark Application Allotment Number

After the trademark registration application is filed with the Registrar, an application allotment number is provided usually within 2 business days. Although it can take between 10- 24 months for your trademark to be registered, you can use the ™ symbol besides your logo once you receive an allotment number. After this step, you can track your application online using the Online Trademark Search facility.

Step 4 Sending the application for Vienna Codification

After the trademark registration application is filed, the Trademark Registrar sends the application for Vienna Codification. The Vienna Codification is an international classification of the figurative elements (logo) and is done by the Registry so that trademark searches can be conducted for the artworks/logos used by you. The Vienna code is assigned based on the nature of the figurative element/logo.

Step 5 Examination by Trademark Officer

In this step, a Trademark Officer will review the application for accuracy and then issue a trademark examination report. Based on their examination, the officer can allow the trademark for journal publication or raise objection. The applicant has the right to appear before the Trademark Officer and address any objections, and appeal the decision of the Trademark Officer before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board.

Step 6 Publication in the Trademark Journal

After the Trademark Officer approves the trademark registration application, the proposed trademark is published in the Trademark Journal. This journal contains all the trademarks that have been accepted by the Trademark Registrar for that week. After publication, the public has the opportunity to object to the trademark registration, if they believe it hurts their interests. If there is any objection, there will be a hearing conducted by the Trademark Hearing Officer, based on which the officer will make a decision about accepting or rejecting the application. If there are no objections filed within 90 days of that publication, your trademark will typically be registered within about 6 months.

Step 7 Trademark Registration

Once there are no objections by the public towards your trademark registration application, the trademark registration certificate will be issued. After being certified, you can use the ® symbol besides your logo, and your trademark will be valid for the next 10 years.

Where are the Trademark Registry Offices located?

The Head Office of the Trade Marks Registry is in Mumbai and branch offices are in Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata.

Trade Mark Registry - Mumbai

Boudhik Sampada Bhavan,
Antop Hill, S.M. Road,
Tel: 022-24132735
Email: [email protected]

Trademarks Registry, New Delhi

Boudhik Sampada Bhawan,
Plot No. 32, Sector 14, Dwarka,
New Delhi-110078
Phone: 011-28032491
Email: [email protected]

Trade Marks Registry, Kolkata

Boudhik Sampada Bhawan,
CP-2 Sector V,
Salt Lake City,
Phone: 033-23677307
Email: [email protected]

Trade Mark Registry, Chennai

Boudhik Sampada Bhawan,
G.S.T. Road, Guindy, Chennai-600032
Phone: 044-22505200
Extn.: 311
Fax: 044-22502046
Email: [email protected]

Trade Marks Registry, Ahmedabad

Boudhik Sampada Bhawan,
Near Chanakyapuri overbridge,
Besides AMC City Civic Centre,
ghatlodia, Ahmedabad - 380061
Phone: 079-27601782
Fax: 079-27601779
Email: [email protected]

What are the documents required for filing a Trademark Application in India?

  • The office of the Registrar has a comprehensive list of forms and fees which you can access here http://www.ipindia.nic.in/form-and-fees-tm.htm
  • If you’re authorizing an agent to carry out the application, you can use this form http://www.ipindia.nic.in/writereaddata/images/pdf/form-TM-48.pdf

The TM 48 form must be typed on an INR 100 stamp paper with adequate space provided wherever applicable.

How can Trademarkreg.in help you?

  • We understand that new ventures can be demanding. To help you get rid of all doubts, Venture Care offers you a free Trademark Search carried out by our Trademark Attorneys.
  • We file your Trademark with the Intellectual Property Government Office and send you a receipt within 3 working days. After this, you can use the ™ symbol besides your logo.
  • With our team of Chartered Accountants, Business Planners, Technocrats, Strategists and other experts, we can assure you reliable solutions for all your growing business needs.