Securing a registered trademark in India is essential for businesses looking to protect their brand and establish their identity in the Indian market. A trademark gives a person or company the right to use a certain symbol or logo. This can be a valuable asset for a company.
In this article, we will explore the detailed process and requirements for trademark registration in India, as well as the potential costs and possible reasons for refusal.
What can be registered as a trademark in India?
A trademark is a symbol, logo, word, or color that can be used to distinguish the goods or services of one brand from those of others. To be eligible for registration, a trademark must be distinctive and not similar to any existing marks in India. It must also not violate any existing laws or regulations. Trademarks can be registered to an individual, a group of persons, for certification of goods and services, or as well-known within a country.
To register a trademark, you must classify your goods or services according to the International Classification of Goods and Services. This classification system is used globally and allows for consistency in the registration process.
It’s also possible to file a multi-class application, which means you can attribute your trademark to more than one class. However, you should pay an extra fee for each additional class. This allows you to protect your trademark across multiple goods or services, providing more comprehensive protection for your brand.
Why can you be refused to register a trademark in India?
There are relative and absolute grounds for a refusal to register a trademark. Absolute grounds for refusal are based on objective criteria and do not depend on the existence of earlier trademarks. Relative grounds for refusal are based on the likelihood of confusion between the trademark applied for and an earlier one.
The relative grounds why a trademark is not subject to registration can be:
- it is identical or similar to another trademark designating similar goods/services;
- it is identical or similar to a well-known mark in India used for any goods/services and it is likely to cause damage to the owner of the well-known mark;
- it falsely suggests a connection with any living person or a person who died within 20 years before the filing date unless such person or their legal representative has given permission.
The absolute grounds for a refusal to register a trademark in India are:
- it has no distinctive character, i.e., cannot distinguish the goods/services of one brand or company from those of another;
- it only contains words or symbols that can be used to show what the goods or services are, how good they are, how much there is, what they are supposed to be used for, how much they cost, where they come from, or when they were made;
- it consists solely of signs or indications that have become common in the current language or established practices of trade;
- it is misleading to the public;
- It contains anything that may offend the religious feelings of any group of people in India;
- it contains scandalous or obscene elements;
- the Emblems and Names Act prohibit its use;
- it only includes elements that derive from the nature of goods/services themselves, or make the goods/services seem more valuable.
India trademark registration process
The process for trademark registration in India involves several steps and can take 6–10 months to complete.
The first step is to conduct a trademark search to ensure that the desired trademark is available for use and registration. You can do this through the Indian Trade Marks Registry’s website. The search will reveal any prior trademarks that are identical or similar to the proposed trademark.
The next step is to file a trademark application with the Indian Trade Marks Registry. The application must include a representation of the trademark, a list of the goods or services for which the trademark will be used, and the applicant’s details. This step usually takes around 4–6 weeks.
The Registry will then examine the application to ensure that it meets all the requirements, such as distinctiveness and not being similar to any prior trademarks. The examination of the application by the Registry typically takes around 5–7 months.
If the application is accepted, it will be published in the Trade Marks Journal. Any opposition to the registration can be filed within three months of the publication date. If there is no opposition or the opposition is unsuccessful, the trademark registration process will be completed and you will get the trademark registration certificate.
The actual duration of each step may vary depending on the individual circumstances of the case and the workload of the Indian Trade Marks Registry. The process of trademark registration in Delhi as well as in other Indian cities is highly regulated and requires a good understanding of the laws and regulations. Therefore, consultation with a trademark attorney is strongly recommended.
Documents required for the registration of a trademark in India
The required documents for trademark registration in India depend on the type of applicant and the specific details of the trademark application. In general, the following documents are typically required:
- A representation of the trademark, which can be in the form of a graphic or design;
- A list of the goods or services for which you will use the trademark;
- A payment order;
- A power of attorney, which authorizes an agent or attorney to act on behalf of the applicant;
- The applicant’s details, including the name, address, and nationality;
- A copy of the priority document (if applicable).
You can apply for several trademarks simultaneously, as long as the goods/services are similar, or the differences don’t change what the trademark represents, like the color of the goods.
Trademark opposition process in India
Once the trademark application is published in Trade Marks Journal, any person may file an opposition within 3 months of the publication date. This is an opportunity for anyone who believes the new trademark may affect their rights to file an opposition and provide evidence to support their case.
When an opposition is filed, the Indian Trade Marks Registry sends a copy of the opposition to the applicant. This gives the applicant an opportunity to respond to the opposition and present evidence supporting their application within 2 months. The Office will examine the opposition and the evidence provided by both parties, and decide whether to register the trademark.
If the applicant disagrees with the examiner’s decision, he or she may file an objection with the Board of Appeals within 3 months of the date it is sent. The Board of Appeals will hear the case and make a final decision on whether to register the trademark or not. It is important to note that this process can be lengthy and may require the assistance of a trademark attorney.
Trademark registration cost in India
Government fees of trademark registration in India
Filing and registration:
Free of charge
Response to opposition
Trademark registration cost in India via the iPNOTE platform starts from as low as $250, which covers all government fees as well as document preparation. Find the best Indian trademark attorney on iPNOTE.
In conclusion, trademark registration in India is crucial for businesses looking to protect their brand and establish their identity in the Indian market. However, the trademark registration process in India can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s recommended to consult with a trademark attorney to ensure that all the requirements are met.
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Take a look at our directory of trademark attorneys in India.
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