A business is distinguished by its company name and logo. It is a trademark sign that differentiates the goods and services of an enterprise from other similar services, plagued in the marketplace. A company name and logo is also recognized and entrusted by customers, hence most businesses apply for trademark in their early days.
Competition is an undeniable fact in the world of business. Success can only be ensured by the strategic implementation of business policies and plan that gives you an upper hand over your competitors. Competition indicates the increased demand for the product or service that inspired a high level of competition.
Using a trademark logo and name for your company is the first step of your proactive plan for staying ahead of the competition. Industry experts also state that customers are also influenced by business brand name and logo. Company name and logo is unique for every enterprise that is legally registered under The Companies Act 1956 and is secured from competitors under the Trademark Act, 1999.
A trademark helps to build the trust of customers in your brand and is a valuable asset to the company. It helps the business to grow. The importance of business branding is known to you by now, let’s take a step forward and present you seven simple steps that you must follow to apply for trademark.
Before we move further, let’s understand what is a trademark? To simply put, it is a mark of trade for a distinguished company. Trademark can be a name (Raymond Veil), surname (Bajaj), word (Flinto), letters (HDFC) or even numbers (555). It can even be a symbol, shape of goods, use unique colour scheme or a combination of any of these.
Here’s how you can apply for trademark:
1. Decide on your unique brand name and logo
How many cups of steaming hot coffees would you need to come with a quirky name to identify your business? It may sound easy, but believe me, you will surely have to rack your brains for this one. A simple word in the English dictionary that describes your service or product cannot be used to trademark your business name. The trademark should be distinctive and unique for your business.
2. Conduct an online search
Trademark infringement, even if done accidentally, can lead to serious legal obligations. Therefore it is extremely important to conduct an online search to make sure that the trademark name and logo of your company has not been used elsewhere.
The trademarks registrations in India are controlled by the Indian Controller General Of Patent Designs and Trademarks. Visit their website to find an online trademark search database. You can conduct the search by yourself or even seek professional help. There is a list of attorneys who work in Indian trademark and patent law, easily available online. In the trademark search page, you need to provide:
- The trademark name you shortlisted
- Class of trademark (there are a total of 45 distinct classes to choose from.)
Only when the search option shows “no match found”, it signifies that your trademark is unique and you can proceed to the next step.
3. Fill-in the trademark application
After confirming the uniqueness of your trademark you must file to register it. Get your trademark application form, Form – TM 1 by downloading it from the Controller General website. The form will cost you INR 3500, a one-time fee to be paid at the time of procurement. The application form requires you to submit the following documentation:
- An identity proof of the directors (if there are multiple owners) along with address proof
- A description of your goods or services is not more than 500 words
- A standard 9 x 5 cms image of your logo
4. Filing for the brand name registration application
Filing of the trademark registration application can be done manually or you can do e-filing. In the Manual filing, you’ve to apply for trademark by submitting the form in-person at any of the five Trademark Registry Offices, namely in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Chennai. After you have filed the application, the acknowledgement will be received within 15-20 days of filing.
E-filing is simple and acknowledgement of application is immediately issued.
5. Scrutinizing of your brand name registration application
The application is now scrutinized by the concerning officer to ensure the uniqueness of your brand name. The registrar checks that the name does not conflict with the existing or even pending brand name application and ensures that legal formalities are fulfilled. If you really racked your brains, coming up with a unique name, this one will be easy-breezy for you.
6. Publication in Indian Trade Mark Journals
If you have successfully crossed the hurdles until this step, your trademark name and logo is published in a reputed Indian Trade Mark Journal. If there is no opposition raised on your chosen company name within 90 days or even 120 days in a few cases, it’s time for celebration!
7. Receiving the trademark registration certificate
If the registrar receives no objection within the stipulated time, your trademark name and logo is officially protected. You will finally receive the Certificate of registration with the seal of the Trademark Registry.
Woohoo! You finally did it. The entire process that you go through right from when you apply for trademark to the time you receive it is completed over a period of 15-18 months. Your trademark name and logo is legally valid for a period of 10 years and can be renewed easily by paying the renewal fee.
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