What Is A Trademark?
A trademark is a word, symbol, design, combination of letters or numbers or other device which identifies and distinguishes products and services in the marketplace. Once developed through advertising, marketing, trade shows, and other means, trademarks become one of your most valuable assets. Your customers identify your firm with your trademark.
Anything that distinguishes the products and/or services of a company and is capable of graphic representation can be protected as a trademark.To cut a long story short, you can register much more as trademarks than you probably imagine. For example :
1) Work Mark
2) Figurative Mark (Logo)
3) Combined Work and Figurative Mark
What Does A Trademark Do?:
A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or authorize another to use it in return for payment. The period of protection varies, but a trademark can be renewed indefinitely beyond the time limit on payment of additional fees. Trademark protection is enforced by the courts, which in most systems have the authority to block trademark infringement.
In a larger sense, trademarks promote initiative and enterprise world-wide by rewarding the owner of trademarks with recognition and financial profit. Trademark protection also hinders the efforts of unfair competitors, such as counterfeiters, to use similar distinctive signs to market inferior or different products or services.
Why Trademark Protection?:
Using a trademark does not provide you with trademark rights in all countries. Should somebody else register a similar trademark for similar products or services, you will have no rights to object to this use under normal circumstances.
To avoid such a situation, it is wise to register your trademark at the earliest possible stage, in the relevant countries. Only by registration of the trademark, you will acquire exclusive rights to a trademark.
A registered trademark entitles you to act against infringements. On the basis of trademark rights, you can take action not only against identical and similar trademarks but also, on certain conditions, against trade names and domain names. Trademark registration offers wide protection.
What Are Classes?
When registering a trademark, you need to specify the products and services that will be associated with your trademark. The large majority of countries of the world have adopted the international classification of nice. This system groups all products and services into 45 classes - 34 for products, 11 for services - permitting you to specify precise and clear classes covering your trademark. the protection that is offered to a registered trademark covers only the classes specified at the time of registration, thereby allowing two identical trademarks to coexist in distinct classes.
We provide a helpful class search tool, which allows you to easily determine the classes your products or services are related to; you can find the link to this application when ordering your service.
A trademark application has to be filed before the trade marks registry by a local agent as all documents and notices have to be served on the local address in India. An applicant situated abroad must have an address for service in India, which is usually the address of the trademark attorney who files the mark on behalf of the applicant. The trademark attorney requires a power of attorney on a format given by the trademark office i.e. form tm 48. The power of attorney can be filed at a later date and is not a requirement at the time of filing, in case of foreign applicants. There is no requirement of legalization or notarization of power of attorney. Foreign applicants do not need a domestic registration.
The application process includes a formal examination, which is based on distinctiveness, identity/similarity with prior pending marks or registered marks in the records of the Indian trademark office. It takes approximately 6-12 months from first filing to examination and acceptance of application for publication. After the mark is accepted for publication, the same is published in the Indian trademark journal for third party opposition. The time limit for third party opposition is 4 months from the date of publication. In case no opposition is filed within the statutory period in the published mark, then the same is entitled to be registered. Note that Indian trademark office allows 500 characters (alphabets with spaces) of goods and services under the prescribed statutory fee. If the number of characters exceed the limit prescribed, then the applicant is liable to be pay additional fee which is about euro 1 for every 4 characters.
A trademark registration in India is valid for 10 years, which is counted from the date of filing of the application, notwithstanding when the mark is registered. Thus if the date of filing is January 1, 2010 and the mark is registered on December 1, 2012, the validity shall be counted from January 1, 2010 and shall remain in force until December 31, 2020. The mark must be renewed on or before December 31, 2020 or within 6 months period thereafter on payment of penalty and late fee.
National Registration :if you just want to register your trademark in one country, it is sufficient to apply for a national registration at the local trademark office.
International Registration (Madrid system)*:if you already have filed a trademark application or have a trademark registration in one or more countries of the Madrid union (based on the Madrid agreement and Madrid protocol), you can obtain trademark protection by filing one single application, so called international registration (Madrid system).
Duly note, a trademark must be used within 5 years from the date of registration or it will become vulnerable to cancellation for non-use. The law, however, does provide for exemptions, i.e. special circumstances in the trade justifying non-use of a trademark. Such circumstances can be used as a defense in the event of an action for cancellation due to non-use.