A trademark can be defined as a mark that is capable of graphically representing and distinguishing the goods and services of one business from those of another. There are different types of trademarks such as logos, designs, word marks, slogans, sound marks, colour marks and more.

A trademark can be associated with a brand and product and is used to differentiate the products from the competition. A trademark is considered to be intellectual property and therefore should be protected from any infringement or unauthorised use. To protect the trademark rights it has to be incorporated/registered. The Trademark Act -1999 governs the laws related to trademarks and their registration. 

Registering a trademark

A trademark is one of the most valuable assets of a company as it contributes significantly towards building a company’s public image. Registering a trademark can offer a lot of benefits to the owners. 

The Registrar's Office of Trademarks is where the registration of trademarks is done. Trademarks can be registered under any of the 45 types of goods and services. You should choose a unique trademark and also identify which class you belong to.

Before you register your trademark you will have to ensure that it is unique by conducting a trademark search. This can be done online at the Controller of Patent, Designs and Trademarks website. You can do a public search to find out if your trademark is unique and not similar to any existing trademark. This will help in minimising the risk of objection during the registration process.

Registration process 

You can fill out an application online or manually and submit the required documents. You will need proof of business registration, a soft copy of the trademark, proof of claim and power of attorney to be signed by the applicant. Business registration proof includes the company’s address proof and the identity proof of the directors of the company. In the case of a proprietorship PAN card and Aadhar card are required.

You have to fill out a Form TM-A for trademark registration online. If you are an individual, start-up or a small enterprise then you must pay Rs.4500 for online application and Rs. 5000 for applying manually. If you are not an individual, a start-up or a small enterprise then the fee is Rs. 9000 for online application and Rs. 10,000 if applying manually.

After you get a confirmation of applying online you will be given an allotment number. You can check the progress of your application online using the allotment number.

Your application is checked by the Registrar of Trademarks to ensure that you have followed all the terms and your trademark aligns with the existing law. Your trademark should not match or be the same as any pending or existing trademarks. 

After examining your application the Registrar will add your trademark in the Indian Trademark Journal. There should be no objection within 4 months of the publication date.

i) If there is no objection then the Registrar will issue you a Trademark Incorporation Certificate.

ii) If there is an objection by any third party within 4 months of the date of trademark publication then the Registrar will give you a copy of the opposition notice. Within 2 months of receiving the opposition notice you have to file a counter-statement.

  • If the counter-statement is not submitted within 2 months then the trademark application will be rejected.
  • If you reply by a counter-statement within 2 months then the third objecting to the trademark will receive a copy of the counter-statement from the Registrar.
  • Both you and the third party have to submit the evidence to support the case. An opportunity for a hearing after submitting the evidence is given to both you and the third party.
  • After checking the evidence and hearing both the parties the Registrar will pass an order to accept or reject the trademark application.
  • If the application is accepted by the Registrar then you will be issued a registration certificate.

Once the incorporation certificate has been issued you can now use the trademark. The certificate officially confirms that your trademark has been incorporated and is also protected. The registration can be used for 10 years from the date of application and has to be renewed.