In our two-part series on Intellectual Property, in the first part we had discussed Copyrights. In this section, we will talk about Trade Marks. As a business entity, you have a ‘Trade Mark’ when you have a distinctive sign or indicator (name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements) to differentiate between your goods/services vis-a-vis offered by different producers/ service-providers.
Upon registration at the specified office, your trademark will be designated by ™, trade mark symbol and ®, registered trade mark symbol. You need to be aware of the following legal aspects with respect to your Trade Marks:
Governance: The registration of Trade Marks in India is governed by the Trade Marks Act, 1999.
Types of Trade Marks:
• Product Trade Marks: To identify goods
• Service Trade Marks: To identify services
• Collective Trade Marks: To distinguish goods/services in connection with which it is used in the course of trade and which are certified by the proprietor with regard to their origin, material, the method of manufacture, the quality or other specific features
• Certification Trade Marks: Are registered in the name of groups, associations or other organizations for the use of members of the group in their commercial activities to indicate their membership of the group
Registration of Trade Marks:
Application for registration: If you are using a trademark currently or plan to use one in the future, and want to register the same, you need to apply in writing to the Registrar of Trade Marks
Fees: Your application for trademark registration should be made on Form TM-1 with a prescribed fee of Rs. 2500/- at one of the five officers of the Trade Marks Registry located at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad depending on the place where you reside or have your principal place of business
Documentation: • Your full name and address in case the business is a proprietorship or of all partners in a partnership concern or all directors of a company as the case may be • True copy of identity and address proof or Partnership Deed or in case of a company, the Memorandum of Association
Duration and Renewal of registration: The registration of a trademark is for a period of ten years, but may be renewed upon re-application. The renewal is made for a period of ten years from the date of expiration of the original registration or of the last renewal of registration, as the case may be.
Infringement of registered Trade Marks:
A registered trademark is infringed upon if a person who is neither a registered proprietor nor has been granted permission to use it,
• uses a mark that is identical or deceptively similar to the trademark for goods or services for which the trademark is registered
• and in such manner that the mark seems likely to be taken as being used as a trademark.
Remedies for Infringement:
Violation of any provision of trade mark law in India is a cognizable offence. As the owner of a trade mark, you may initiate legal proceedings for trade mark infringement to prevent unauthorized use of your registered trade mark. The penalties are subject to different sections for different levels of violation. Read the complete act here – Trade Marks Act 1999