How to register a trademark?

If you're starting a new business or trade, a logo, name or signature is the first thing you choose to separate yourself from the rest. A "trademark" is that symbol you will use to do so. Registering a trademark is a legal process provided for under the Trade Marks Act, 1999. In this week's column, we will break down the process of registering your own trademark, if your business is applicable for the same.

Documents required

A soft copy of the logo in JPEG format.
TM 48 (form of authorization).

Name and address of the proprietor of the mark.

Required fee.

Types of trademarks available
- Names, including your own name or surname.
- An invented word or any arbitrary dictionary word or words. It does not need to be descriptive of the character or quality of the goods/service.
- Letters or numerals or any combination.
- Symbols
- Monograms
- Combination of colours or even a single colour in combination with a word or device.
- Shape of goods or their packaging.
- Marks constituting a 3-dimensional sign.
- Sound marks when represented in conventional notation or described in words by being graphically represented.

What does the register of trademark contain?

Currently maintained in electronic form, the trademark contains the following:
- The class and goods/services in respect of which it is registered including particulars affecting the scope of registration of rights conferred or disclaimers.
- Address of the proprietors.
- Particulars of trade or other description of the proprietor.
- The convention application date (if applicable).
- Place where a trademark has been registered with the consent of proprietor of an earlier mark or earlier rights.

How to make a trademark application?

You can make an application for a trademark on Form TM-1 with the prescribed fee of Rs 2,500 at one of the five offices of the Trade Marks Registry located at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Ahmedabad. This will depend on the place where you reside or have your main place of business.

You will need to do a pre-filing search before filing your trademark.

Once you register your trademark, you will be issued an official receipt with a TM number.

Then an examination report is filed within three months from application. You will get a response to your registration either by an affidavit, a hearing or by an interview.

Your application will be looked at to ascertain if it does not conflict with existing registered or pending trademarks. Based on this, an examination report is issued.

As you defeat objections raised by the registrar, your application is then published in the Indian Trade Marks Journal, with an endorsement stating either that it has been accepted or that it is being published before acceptance.

Once it is published, any person has three months (which can be extended to a month at the registrar's discretion) to file a notice of opposition to registration.

Acceptance or refusal of your trademark application will be considered once the opposition proceedings have been completed.

Duration of trademark

The term of registration of a trademark is 10 years. This may be renewed for a further period of 10 years on payment of the renewal fees.